Aryan invasion: Fact or fiction?
On September 5, Professor Vasant Sindhe, senior archaeologist and vice-chancellor of Deccan College, Pune, Vaghesh Narasimham and David Reich of Harvard Medical School, and Niraj Rai, head of the Ancient DNA Laboratory of the Birbal Sahani Institute of Palaeosciences, has once again exposed the myth of Aryan invasion theory (AIT) which is accepted and has been propagated among generations of Indian students till now.
The history textbooks for high school to university students of India, written by eminent historians such as Bipan Chandra, Irfan Habib, Romila Thapar and many others have accepted this theory that a foreign race called Aryans from Central Asia, who were white-complexioned, invaded the northern part of India around 1500 BC and defeated the indigenous dark-skinned Dravidians and drove them away to the south. Then these physically stronger nomadic and martial pastoralists from the Steppe and Iranian farmers called Aryans, settled down in northern India, started cultivating crops, developed Sanskrit language and wrote the Vedas — the world’s first religious scripture.
Since its very inception, this Aryan invasion or migration theory has encountered potential challenges, and the present research paper which has further shattered its credibility, is titled “An ancient Harappan genome lacks ancestry from pastoralists and Iranian farmers’. Published in a recent edition of the scientific journal ‘CELL’, the paper asserts that Indians have come from a genetic pool predominantly belonging to an indigenous ancient Indian civilisation, and not from outside. The assertion is based on the study of the ancient genome in a 5,000 year-old skeleton excavated from a burial site at Rakhigarhi, which is among the biggest Indus Valley locations, spread across 300 hectares near Hissar, Haryana, and which belonged to a mature phase of the Harappan Civilization during that period.
Sindhe examined the remains of Indus valley people, but found no “Aryan” gene. Sindhe observes: “The population of Rakhigarhi had no detectable ancestors from Steppe pastoralists or from Anatolian or Iranian farmers. Thus it is evident that farming in South Asia arose from local farmers rather than from large-scale migration from the west. The Central Asia steppe genes — termed as “Aryan” gene has no trace in the DNA samples of the skeleton found in Rakhigarhi — a part of Indus Valley Civilization (IVC).
Despite the fact that this theory propounded by the Britishers during the late 19th century had absolutely no archaeological or genetic basis, many English-educated Indians, including our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, fully subscribed to AIT. In his monumental books ‘The Discovery of India’ and ‘Glimpses of World History’, Nehru has elaborated on this theory and has given credence to it.
Accepting that the Aryans of Central Asia migrated in two groups, one of which went towards Mediterranean Europe and the other to north India, Nehru in ‘Glimpses of World History’ wrote: “We (the Indians) are in direct line with the ancients, who came down through the north-western mountain passes into the smiling plains of what was to be known as Bramhavarta or Aryabarta or Bharatbarsha or Hindustan . . . Think of them, those distant ancestors of ours, marching on and on, and suddenly reaching the banks of the noble Ganga flowing majestically down to the sea.”
Before the 1857 revolution, the East India Company had a prejudice that they could convert Indian Hindus as easily and quickly as they did African people. The revolt changed their perception, and then they started fabricating the AIT and projecting the Vedas and other Hindu scriptures in a demeaning light.
In his ‘The Discovery of India’, Nehru analysed through this theory that the Hindu caste system was the product of the conflict, adjustment and synthesis between Aryans and non-Aryans. Nehru writes: “The class division, originally intended to separate the Aryans from the non-Aryans, reacted on the Aryans themselves, and as division of functions and specialization increased, the new classes took the form of castes.”
It was quite normal for the English-educated Nehru to be highly impressed and influenced by British scholars James Mill, John Stuart Mill, Vincent Smith and German scholar Max Muller of that era. All these foreign scholars wrote profusely on Indian history, culture and religion, but curiously, none of them had ever visited India. Unlike Nehru, many other Indian scholars such as Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo and Subramanyam Bharati, who were great scholars on Vedas and Puranas, have strongly refuted AIT with convincing logic and facts. All of them have unanimously held that the word “Aryan” is a misnomer, and that the correct term is “Arya”, which does not imply any human race, but refers to any human being who is civilized, cultured, virtuous and honest. Even Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar clearly discarded the concept of Aryan as a race, and asserted that all Hindus, irrespective of their castes or regions, belong to the same race.
The timing of AIT is not based on any scientific or archeological evidence, but only on the fictitious Biblical claims that the world was created in 4004 BC and Noah’s flood took place around 2300 BC. Since the existence of Buddha during the 4th century BC was proved, and Buddhism was a movement against the Vedic rituals, so the period of Aryan invasion was set at 1500 BC and the writing of the Vedas at 1200 BC. The propounders of AIT have no answers to some questions: Why didn’t the Aryans mention in the Vedas the place of their origin, if it was other than India? Why there is no trace of Aryan language (Sanskrit), culture and traditions in Aryans’ original place? Why don’t the Vedas have any mention of the geographical features, such as rivers, mountains and plants, of the original motherland of the Aryans?
The AIT was the product of a deep-rooted and systematic conspiracy of British imperialists. They had six major motives behind this: To establish white-supremacy over coloured people; to convince that the ancestors of north Indians, upper caste Hindus, were foreign Aryans; to remind that Indians were conquered by several foreign races for millennia, and that the British were no exception; to divide Indians into northern Aryans and southern Dravidas; to divide Hindus into upper castes and lower castes; and lastly, to perpetuate British rule for ever. The motive was clearly political, to “divide and rule” India.
Before the 1857 revolution, the East India Company had a prejudice that they could convert Indian Hindus as easily and quickly as they did African people. The revolt changed their perception, and then they started fabricating the AIT and projecting the Vedas and other Hindu scriptures in a demeaning light. The British hired the service of the German-origin British scholar Frederic Max Muller, who translated the Vedas and Upanishads, in a distorted form so that Hindus would hate their own scriptures, and would willingly convert to Christianity.
Muller was one of the chief architects of AIT and the father of the concept of “Aryans” as a race. He wrote to his wife December 9, 1867: “I feel convinced that this edition of mine and the translation of Vedas will hereafter tell to a great extent on the fate of India. It is the root of their religion, and to show them what their root is, I feel sure, the only way of uprooting all that has sprung from it during the last 3,000 years.” In 1868 he wrote to George Campbell, Secretary of State for India: “India has been conquered once, but India must be conquered again, and the second conquest should be by education . . . The ancient religion of India is doomed — and if Christianity does not step in, whose fault will it be?”
The British conspired to rule India for ever by striking at its religio-cultural roots and by converting Hindus to Christianity, but in course of time, not only were their dreams shattered, but also their conspiracy boomeranged on them just like a meticulous play of divine justice. Muller proved himself to be Frankenstein whose Aryan supremacy theory gave birth to the monster named Hitler who initiated the Second World War which crippled the British — both financially and militarily. The proud British, who till then boasted that the sun never set on their empire, were forced to leave India and other colonies in a hurry as they were too weak to control them.
The British distorted Indian history to suit their selfish interests, but unfortunately, many Indian scholars and historians of the post-independent era emulated them like blind devotees. One primary reason behind India being repeatedly conquered and subjugated by foreign invaders, was the poor sense of history of Indians. Let us not forget George Santayana’s profound saying: “Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” Let us try our best to discover the correct history without polluting it with politics or ideologies. Let us learn from history’s precious lessons to build a better nation.
Courtesy : OrissaPost