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Evidence from Indian tradition

The Aryan invasion theory and its reconstruction of India's ancient history is in head-on contradiction with Indian tradition on many points.

Vedic Lore: The Vedas nor any other Sanskrit scripture make any reference to an original homeland outside India, in fact, all descriptions of the Vedic homeland, called variously, Aryavarta, Bharatvarsha, Ila, etc., apply to the Indian subcontinent and nowhere else. The Rig Veda repeatedly refers to Saptasindu, or the seven rivers, a clear description of the Punjab with the Saraswati to the east, the Indus to the west, and its five tributaries in between, all the rivers are explicitly invoked in the nadi sukta (X.75).

As the historian P. T. Srinivasan Iyengar pertinently noted in 1926,

"A careful study of the Vedas...reveals the fact that Vedic culture is so redolent of the Indian soil and of the Indian atmosphere that the idea of the non-Indian origin of that culture is absurd." It is hard to imagine that the Vedic people, who had such a strong bond with their land and constantly praised or deified its mountains and forests and rivers, would not have carried into their culture the least memory of their supposed ancestral steppes away in Central Asia. A strange amnesia for people who cultivated their memory so methodically that they could transmit the four Vedas orally generation after generation to the present day. 

" As far as I can see," writes the eminent British archaeologist Colin Renfrew

"there is nothing in the Hymns of the Rigveda which demonstrates that the Vedic-speaking populations were intrusive to the area...Nothing implies that the Aryans were strangers there."

Thomas Trautmann, for instance traces the history of those illegitimate extrapolations, and concludes that "the Dasysys image of the 'dark-skinned savage' is only imposed on the Vedic evidence with a considerable amount of text-torturing."

Mark Kenoyer, a leading U.S. archaeologist who has worked on Harappan cities for over twenty years, refers to the "uncritical readings of the Vedic texts by some scholars." 

George Erdosy, a Canadian archaeologist, is refreshingly perceptive:

"Even apparently clear indications of historical struggles between dark aborigines and Arya conquerors turn out to be misleading....(The Dasas and Dasyus) appear to be demonic rather than human enemies...It is a cosmic struggle which is described in detailed (Vedic) accounts that are consistent with one another."

There is, however, a subtle paradox central to the old misinterpretation of the Veda: we are asked to believe that in a few centuries, the Aryans not only composed the Veda, but conquered Northern India, "imposed" over most of the subcontinent their culture and literature and founded on Sanskrit, then built up a great civilization from scratch in the Gangetic plains - quite a stunning development, if we remember that the said Aryans were pictured as semi-primitive pastoral and illiterate, and presumed to faced the opposition of the more civilized Dravidians. 

Not only that, the Rig Veda makes dozens of references to the sea or the ocean, which "clearly show a maritime culture," in the words of the Vedic scholar David Frawley

"The image of the ocean permeates the entire text of the Rig Veda." Even India's eastern and western oceans are clearly mentioned (X. 136.5), so are ships and shipping. All this does not fit with invaders from landlocked Central Asia, which is why this prominent aspect of the Rig Vedic environment was obscured by conventional scholars. Yet, according to a prominent Indian historian (A History of India History - By Romila Thapar, p. 43): "The earliest religious ideas of the Aryans were those of a primitive animism where the forces around them, which they could not control or understand, were invested with divinity and personified as male or female gods."

Epic and Puranic Lore:  According to Marxist historian, Romila Thapar, the great War described in the Mahabharata, is, the glorification of a "local feud" between two Aryan tribes sometimes between 1000 and 700 B.C: as for the Ramayana, the war between Rama and Ravana may have been originally "a description of local conflicts between the agriculturists of the Ganges Valley and the more primitive hunting and food-gathering societies of the Vindhyan region."!!!! One is left wondering whose imagination is the wilder - that of our Epic (Sanskrit) poets, if they could magnify "local conflicts" into virtual world wars and such "primitive societies into glorious kingdoms and empires full of great heroes, or that of our good historians, who can turn these Epics into such insipid tiffs. 

The Puranas explicitly mention migrations out of India.

(source: The Invasion That Never Was - By Michel Danino and Sujata Nahar  


The view that the Aryas were white in color and that they were divided into 3 classes – Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas was proposed by some Western Indologists who telescoped race, color and varna.  Griffith deliberately introduced the notion of a racial conflict between the Aryas and the Dravidas based on color. The Vedic hymns have not made such a distinction nor implied any conflict between the two. Nor have the post-Vedic writings in Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit and Tamil mentioned such a conflict. Indian writings have not attributed white color to Aryas or black to Dravidas. The color and racial conflict is a Western concoction. Any objective search for facts will explode several myths propagated by Western Indologists and their Indian fans.   

The Lotus-Eyed God. Keshava, One Who Has Long, Black Matted Locks. Krishna, Dark-Complexioned Lord.  It has been said that in Krishna we have the fullest and the most perfect manifestation of the Divine. 

Demolished once for all: Aryan Invasion Theory

Girilal Jain  (  - 1933)  doyen of Indian journalists and editor of The Times of India from 1978-1988, was a passionate crusader of the Hindu cause. Author of The Hindu Phenomenon, he has observed in his masterful review of Shrikant G. Talageri's ‘Aryan Invasion Theory and Indian Nationalism,’ published in 1993 thus:

An unknown Indian has taken on proponents of the Aryan invasion/migration theory, demolished their case, and established that northern India is the original home of the Aryans and the Indo-European family of languages. The importance of this remarkable achievement cannot be exaggerated. In course of time, it can compel the revision of the history not only of Indian but also world civilization.” 

Since then, Talageri, a not-so-unknown Indian now, has come up with two more works. His ‘The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis’ (2000) established that Vedic Aryans were inhabitants of the area to the east of Punjab, traditionally known as Aryavarta; that the region of Saptasindhu formed the western periphery of their activities and that the Aryans migrated from the east to the west within India and beyond it. For this, he relied solely on a detailed analysis of the Rigveda.

His latest book, “The Rigveda and the Avesta: the Final Evidence,” seeks to prove conclusively beyond all reasonable doubt that India was the original homeland of the Indo-European family of languages, that the Rigvedic people were settled in areas around and to the east of the Sarasvati river in at least the third millennium BCE if not earlier, that the proto-Iranians who later became Zoroastrians were settled in the areas to the west of the Vedic Aryans, and that both started expanding westward around that period.

As the name of the book suggests, Talageri collects, collates and compares a massive amount of evidence from the Rigveda and the Avesta and also marshals undisputed recorded facts from Mesopotamian history about the Mitanni and the Kassites to support his conclusions. He relies on non-controversial data such as names of people, animals and places, and on the provenance and numerical frequency of their occurrences, rather than subjective interpretations of esoteric texts.

We teach our children even today as settled facts that nomadic Aryans invaded/migrated to India around 1500 BCE, destroyed the Indus Valley culture and began what is known as the Vedic Age, and produced Rigveda around 1200 BCE. However, this is only a theory, and an extremely weak one at that.

That there is not a shred of evidence for it in either the ancient literature or archaeology, that it is based on nothing more solid than some striking similarities among the Indo-European languages, that there is an overwhelming body of solid evidence against it, and that even the linguistic data supporting it can be better explained by an alternative opposite theory, has not daunted its proponents who are deeply entrenched in the academia, media and, worst of all, in politics.

Originally cooked up by 19th century European scholars to serve the interests of India’s colonial masters, the theory has now been appropriated by current political ideologies whose sole purpose is to keep India weak, divided and confused. It is used to deepen and exploit regional, linguistic and racial cleavages in Indian society, deny nativity and originality to Hindu civilization, and justify later invasions: if Aryans came from outside, how can the Hindus cavil at Muslim or European invaders?

This is not the first time that the Aryan Invasion Theory has been disproved. It has been demolished several times over in the past. Talageri’s specialty is that he uses only objective, non-controversial and verifiable data from ancient texts to support his conclusions. Talageri’s point of departure is the internal chronology of the Rigveda. The Rigveda, the oldest book in the world and the most primary source of knowledge about ancient India, consists of 1028 hymns divided in ten Books, or Mandalas. The composition of these hymns, their collation and compilation in the present form, must have been a gradual process stretching over a vast geographical expanse, spanning several centuries if not millennia, and involving generations of seers, kings and other actors.

That argument can be simply stated. Rigveda and Avesta have a lot in common—names of people, animals, meters, geography. However, the Early Books of Rigveda have very little in common with Avesta, while the Middle Books have a little more. But it is the Late Books of Rigveda that have a lot in common with Avesta, pointing to a period of contemporary development.

Apart from names and name-elements, there is the evidence of the development and use of meters used in various hymns of the different Books. The earliest hymns in the Avesta, the Gathas, composed by Zarathustra, use the six-line Mahapankti meter, which is used only in the Late Books of the Rigveda. On this parameter also, the evidence points to the same conclusion: the common development of the joint Indo-Iranian culture represented by these two sacred books took place in the period of Late Books of Rigveda. The Early and the Middle Books of Rigveda belong to a period which is older than the period of the development of this joint culture. 

The geographical evidence of Rigveda is very clear and unambiguous. It shows that the Vedic Aryans, in the period of the Early and the Middle books, were inhabitants of interior parts of India, to the east of river Sarasvati and were only just expanding into and becoming acquainted with areas further west. The geographical horizon of the Rigveda extends from (at least) western Uttar Pradesh in the east to eastern and southern Afghanistan in the West. Let us divide it in three regions: the eastern region comprising the Sarasvati and areas to its east, mainly modern Haryana and western UP; the western region comprising the Indus and areas to its west, mainly the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan, Afghanistan and contiguous areas of southern Central Asia; and the central region comprising Saptasindhu or Punjab between the Sarasvati and Indus.

The eastern region is clearly known to the whole of the Rigveda. Copious references to the rivers such as Sarasvati, Drshadvati, Hariyupiya, Yavyavati, Ashmanvati, Yamuna, Ganga, places such as Ilayaspada, Kikata, and animals such as elephant, buffalo, peacock and spotted deer are scattered all over the Rigveda, but particularly in the Early books. In sharp contrast, the western region is totally unknown to the Early Books, only very newly familiar to the Middle Books, but quite familiar to the Late Books. The western places (except a solitary reference to Gandharva in a late hymn), animals, lakes and mountains are totally unknown to the Early as well as the Middle Books, and exactly three rivers are mentioned in Book IV, which represents the western-most thrust of the Vedic Aryans in the Middle period. 
The late books, on the other hand, are strewn with references to rivers such as Sindhu, Amitabha, Rasa, Svetya, Kubha, Krumu, Gomati, Sarayu and Susoma; places such as Gandhari, mountains such as Arjikya and Mujawat, lakes such as Saryanavat, and animals such as Bactrian camel, Afghan horse, mountain sheep, mountain goat and boar.

Most interesting are the references to the central region—the Saptasindhu or Punjab between Indus and Sarasvati. Very significantly, the Nadi Sukta lists the rivers from the east to the west. Book VI, the oldest book, does not know any of the five rivers of Punjab. The second oldest book, Book III, mentions only the two easternmost rivers—Vipas (Beas) and Sutudri (Sutlej). The third oldest book, Book VII, mentions Parushni (Ravi), the third river from the east, with reference to the Battle of Ten Kings in which the non-Vedic enemies figure as western people of the fourth river Asikni (Chenab). Even the phrase Saptasindhu first appears in the Middle Books.

As Girilal Jain had observed,if it can be established that the movement of the users of the Indo-European speech in India in ancient times was from the east to the west and not vice-versa, the invasion/migration theory, as it has been propounded, cannot stand.”

This makes the Rigvedic Age contemporaneous with the Indus Valley culture. Far from being the destroyers of Harappa and Mohenjodaro, Vedic Aryans turn out to be the architects of those great cities. This is what Girilal Jain meant when he said that in course of time Talageri’s research can compel the revision of the history not only of Indian, but also world civilization.

(source: Demolished once for all: Aryan Invasion Theory - By Virendra Parekh - Refer to chapter on First Indologists and European Imperialism.  

Watch video - The Myth of Aryan invasion theory - Part I and Part II and Part III and Myth of Aryan Dravidian Divide and Dwaraka - A Lost City of Lord Sri Krishna.

The Aryan myth in perspective - History, science and politics

To a historian of science, there is a remarkable similarity between the attitudes of theologians in Galileo’s time and of philologists and anthropologists in our own. They cannot accept the fact that the very foundation of their discipline—not just the Aryan invasion theory—has collapsed. Natural history and genetics have demolished their theories as well as their methods. And like Galileo’s adversaries, they too have chosen to resort to politics and propaganda, though the forces they invoke lack the authority of the Church in Galileo’s time.

A Racist Myth that refuses to die

When judged by evidence and logic, the various Aryan theories, especially the Aryan invasion theory (AIT) must be regarded one of the weakest intellectual exercises in recent history— an intellectual failure of the first magnitude. But if longevity and capacity for survival are measures of success, then the Aryan myth—it is hardly a theory—must be counted among the most successful.

It is now more than a century since the Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) made its way into history books and encyclopedias the world over, as the basis for the history of ancient India and the source of the Vedic civilization. Though linguistic in origin, the climate in which it evolved—dominated by British colonialism and German nationalism—ensured that it soon acquired a political and even biological form, giving rise to such notions as the Aryan race and the Aryan nation. Government departments in British India like the Anthropological Survey mixed up physical appearance and character traits and made it a tool of divide and rule.

Because of its European origin and orientation, there were attempts to shift the origin of the Vedic Civilization and its language to sources in lands closer to Europe . This gave rise to an academic discipline called Indo-European Studies, devoted to exploring the origin of Europeans, their language and culture. A major result of this approach has been to make India and its culture including the Vedas to be of non-Indian origin. The Aryan invasion (or migration) has been the lynchpin of this discipline.

While the defeat of Nazi Germany and end of European colonialism put an end to the political needs of these theories, they have survived in Western academia because of the heavy investment that scholars have made in Indo-European studies. Recent findings in science, particularly in population genetics have delivered a mortal blow to the Aryan Invasion Theory. This has led its proponents to resort to propaganda and political lobbying to save it by overturning scientific and historical facts.

This campaigning, like during the recent controversy over the revision of California schools curriculum, is only the latest manifestation of the kind of struggle that is waged whenever new discoveries overthrow old ideas. The most famous of these took place in the time of Galileo. In the end, the supporters of Indo-European studies are no more likely to succeed than Galileo’s opponents, who too had the support of powerful political and religious interests. Ultimately, it is truth not personalities that will prevail though the battle for truth is likely to be prolonged. It is best to take a long-term view and prepare the ground for a new generation of researchers.

It [Aryan invasion theory] gave a historical precedent to justify the role and status of the British Raj, who could argue that they were transforming India for the better in the same way that the Aryans had done thousands of years earlier.

That is to say, the British presented themselves as a ‘new and improved brand of Aryans’ that were only completing the work left undone by their ancestors in the hoary past. Today it is sustained by ‘special interests’ rather than special conditions that no longer exist. These new interests include political chauvinism in India and the survival of Indo-European studies as a discipline in Western academia. It is only a matter of time before this vestige of colonial politics disappears from the scene making way for a more objective approach to the study of ancient India . This is already happening. In the interim, the kind of dispute and controversy witnessed in California are only natural.

The seriousness of this struggle for survival of this academic discipline, and its practitioners cannot be underestimated. This existential fear is what is behind the desperate actions bordering on the bizarre of some Western Indologists , notably the Harvard Indologist Michael Witzel and his colleagues.

On the scientific side, the emergence of molecular biology and the growth of population genetics in the second half of the twentieth century have delivered the coup de grace to this pseudo-discipline. The story that science has to tell us is very different from what had been believed for well over a century

(source: The Aryan myth in perspective - History, science and politics - By N S Rajaram).  For more refer to chapter on Aryan Invasion Theory, European Imperialism and First Indologist.For more refer to chapter on Aryan Invasion Theory, European Imperialism and First Indologist.

Watch video - The Myth of Aryan invasion theory - Part I and Part II and Part III and Myth of Aryan Dravidian Divide and Dwaraka - A Lost City of Lord Sri Krishna.


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Updated - October 28, 2008