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Background on Aryan Invasion Theory

According to author Bansi Pandit author of The Hindu Mind:

"The Aryan Invasion Theory was put forth by Western scholars, many of whom were Christian missionaries or whose scientific reasoning was influenced by religious overtones. The Western scholars (who were mostly Christians) believed in Biblical chronology, according to which the world was created in about 4,000 BCE. Thus they rejected outright any literary evidence in the ancient Hindu scriptures that pointed to dates and events earlier that 4,000 BCE.

Max Mulller, as a Christian himself, believed that the world was created around 4,000 BCE, as endorsed by Biblical chronology. He thus arbitrarily assumed the time interval for development of each Veda to be at 200 years. Any time period assumed to be greater than 200 years would have pushed the date of the composition of the Vedas earlier than 4,000 BCE. thus conflicting with Max Muller's religious belief about the creation of the world. Knowing that Buddha lived around 500 BCE and that the Vedas were composed prior to Buddha, Max Muller calculated the date of the arrival of Aryans in India as 500 BCE + 200 years (per time interval) x 5 (time intervals) = 1500 BCE.

The Vedas often speak of the war between "the forces of light" and "the forces of darkness." Although these expressions are only poetic metaphors (to illustrate a war between virtue and evil) in the Vedas, they were nevertheless interpreted as by Western scholars to indicate a war between light-skinned Aryans and dark-skinned Dravidians. Thus it was concluded that India was invaded by Aryans who destroyed the supposed pre-Aryan Indus Valley culture. Current archaeological data have revealed that the Indus Valley culture was not destroyed by any outside invasion, but by natural causes, such as seismic events and floods.

Also, the correct translation of the Sanskrit term samudra is ocean, it was initially translated as "a body of water." Hence the references to ships in the Rig Veda and to the river Saraswati (and other ancient rivers) were considered false and mythical by Westerners. If samudra had been translated correctly as ocean, the references to ships and the vast trade over water would have been considered real and not mythical, and would have also indicated that the Aryans were civilized people and not nomads. The idea of nomadic Aryans had been assumed by Western scholars to fit their idea of the Aryan invasion. 

The Implication of the Aryan Invasion theory is that it declares the Vedic culture to be primitive. The Puranas, Mahabharata, and Ramayana are labled as mythical and approximately 7,000 years of Vedic culture are left without any historical basis. It creates a rift between the North and South. Also that Vedic culture was subsequent to the Middle-Eastern culture, which are historically linked to the Bible and Christianity. 

(source: The Hindu Mind: Fundamentals of Hindu Religion and Philosophy for All Ages - By Bansi Pandit  B & V Enterprises 1996. page 312-315).

Watch Scientific verification of Vedic knowledge

Koenraad Elst, (1959 -) Dutch historian, Belgian scholar, has said that: 

"Until the mid-19th century, no Indian had ever heard of the notion that his ancestors could be Aryan invaders from Central Asia who had destroyed the native civilization and enslaved the native population. Neither had South-Indians ever dreamt that they were the rightful owners of the whole subcontinent, dispossessed by the Aryan invaders who had chased them from North India, turning it into Aryavarata, the land of the Aryans. Nor had the low-caste people heard that they were the original inhabitants of India, subdued by the Aryans and forced into the prison house of caste which the conquerors imposed upon them as an early form of Apartheid.

All these ideas had to be imported by European scholars and missionaries, who thought through the implications of the Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT), the theory that the Indo-European (IE) language family had spread out from a given homeland, probably in Eastern Europe, and found a place in Western and Southern Europe and in India as a cultural luggage of horse-borne invaders who subjugated the natives."

(source: Update on the Aryan Invasion - Dr. Koenraad Elst)

Overrunning Asia in the wake of its nascent imperialism in the 18th century, Western scholars ran berserk propounding half-baked theories and forcing mistaken thesis on the subjugated peoples of the world. One such mistaken notion forced on a psychologically supine world was the phantom of a so-called 'Aryan race.' This shadow-chasing was bound to result in nothing but utter confusion and total failure because blundering Western scholarship has raised the phantom of the so-called 'Aryan Race' out of its own imagination caused by a basic misunderstanding of the Sanskrit term 'Arya.'

Sanskrit-speaking Indians have coined the word 'Arya' to signify and ideal. To the Indians an 'Arya' signified a thorough bred ...a perfect gentleman, an ideal person, a superman. Being great Idealists and sticklers for purity of behavior they constantly referred to the 'Arya' concept as a state of evolution to which every individual must aspire. 

What better proof of this truth can be found than the well known maxim which enjoins on all Indians the ideal "KRUNVANTO VISHAM ARYAM"  ie "MAKE THE ENTIRE WORLD ARYAN". 

Had the 'Aryan' signified a race, the above dictum would not have come into being because race-conscious people far from wanting to assimilate the 'world' in their fold believe in maintaining an exclusive identity. 

(Source: Some Blunders of Indian Historical Research - By P.N. Oak Bharati Sahitya Sadan. New Delhi. p. 212-213). 

"Upon the discovery of the Indus cities, Aryan invasion theorists promptly scouted around for signs of battles between the invading Aryans and the settlers of the Indus River. In a late layer at Mohenjo-daro, archaelogists discovered the skeletal remains of thirty-eight individuals in contexts suggesting violence. Hypnotized by the Aryan Invasion theory, archaeologists summarily attributed the death of these urbanites to a "final massacre" at the hands of marauding bands of Aryan nomads." 

(source: In Search Of The Cradle of Civilization: New Light on Ancient India - By Georg Feurerstein, Subhash Kak & David Frawley p. 77-78).

One main reason that the theory has been called into question is that there is no primary evidence. No monuments to any heroes of such invasions have been excavated, no related cemeteries unearthed, no battle fields identified in relation to the theory, no forts, in short- nothing in the way of physical evidence. There is a host of other in congruencies, but this is the general idea. What Western scholars have relied upon to substantiate the theory is etymology. They trace linguistic patterns, encompassing the East and West, and then by implication pinpoint a central geographic area which then serves as a common point of origin of the Indo-European language and race. This point, being basically the Caucasians and mountainous regions of Persia, is of course, outside of India, such that the existence of the Aryan race in Northern India is attributed to an invasion, and such is the flimsy explanation they offer for the Caucasian presence in India.

It has often been pointed out that few other principal theories have ever been accepted based on such indirect, flimsy evidence. When something ends up being so rigidly imposed with such little basis, a reasonable mind will look for other motives. 

Again we may rely on the broad understanding of David Frawley:

"It is important to examine the social and political implications of the Aryan invasion idea:

First, it served to divide India into a northern Aryan and southern Dravidian culture which were made hostile to each other. This kept the Hindus divided and is still a source of social tension. 
Second, it gave the British an excuse in their conquest of India. They could claim to be doing only what the Aryan ancestors of the Hindus had previously done millennia ago. 
Third, it served to make Vedic culture later than and possibly derived from Middle Eastern cultures. With the proximity and relationship of the latter with the Bible and Christianity, this kept the Hindu religion as a sidelight to the development of religion and civilization to the West. 
Fourth, it allowed the sciences of India to be given a Greek basis, as any Vedic basis was largely disqualified by the primitive nature of the Vedic culture.

This discredited not only the 'Vedas' but the genealogies of the 'Puranas' and their long list of the kings before the Buddha or Krishna were left without any historical basis. The 'Mahabharata', instead of a civil war in which all the main kings of India participated as it is described, became a local skirmish among petty princes that was later exaggerated by poets. In short, it discredited the most of the Hindu tradition and almost all its ancient literature. It turned its scriptures and sages into fantasies and exaggerations.

This served a social, political and economical purpose of domination, proving the superiority of Western culture and religion. It made the Hindus feel that their culture was not the great thing that their sages and ancestors had said it was. It made Hindus feel ashamed of their culture - that its basis was neither historical nor scientific. It made them feel that the main line of civilization was developed first in the Middle East and then in Europe and that the culture of India was peripheral and secondary to the real development of world culture.

Such a view is not good scholarship or archeology but merely cultural imperialism. The Western Vedic scholars did in the intellectual sphere what the British army did in the political realm - discredit, divide and conquer the Hindus. In short, the compelling reasons for the Aryan invasion theory were neither literary nor archeological but political and religious - that is to say, not scholarship but prejudice."

Hollow Earth Theory And The Aryan Invasion - By Dean De Lucia/Dharmapada Dasa).

Shri Aurobindo wrote about European scholarship:  

"European scholarship regards human civilization as a recent progression starting yesterday with the Fiji islander, and ending today with Rockefeller, conceiving ancient culture as necessarily half savage culture." It is a superstition of modern thought that the march of knowledge has always been linear." "Our vision of "prehistory" is terribly inadequate. We have not yet rid our minds from the hold of a one-and-only God or one-and-only Book, and now a one-and-only Science."  

(source: The Invasion That Never Was - By Michel Danino and Sujata Nahar p. 86-87). 

(Note: In the Mosaic system, the whole world just as we know, was formed in the course of six days. Archbishop Ussher, in the 17th century fixed the date as 4004 B.C. Later theologians however, not being content with the specifications of the year alone, added further refinements to their date-scheme and specified 9 am. of the 23rd October, 4004 BC as being the exact hour, correct to the second, fixed in accordance to the present G.M.T. This cosmogonic dogma of Christian theology held a dominate place in Mediaeval thought even as late as the last century, due to the influence that Christian theology has had on contemporary thought).

According to Sri Aurobindo: 

We are ready to accept all European theories, the theory of an 'Aryan' colonization of a Dravidian India, the theory of Nature worship…as if these hazardous speculations were on par in authority and certainty with the law of gravitation and the theory of evolution.” “So great is the force of attractive generalizations and widely popularized errors that all the world goes on perpetuating the blunder talking of the Indo-European races, claiming or disclaiming Aryan kinship and building on that basis of falsehood the most far-reaching political, social or pseudo-scientific conclusions."

(source: The Secret of the Veda - By Sri Aurobindo 1972   p. 4).


Samuel Butler said "God cannot alter the past, historians can." This is the most effective way of emphasizing the need for research into the origins of the Aryans. One of the major reasons why a consideration of the idea of an Aryan invasion into India is prevalent among some Western researchers is because of their misinterpretation of the Vedas, deliberate or otherwise, that suggests the Aryans were a nomadic people. One such misinterpretation is from the Rig-Veda, which describes the battle between Sudas and the ten kings.

Dr. Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, in his book,  Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization categorically states that the decline of this ancient civilization was due to natural causes and not because of destruction by invading nomads. He makes a clear rejection of the Aryan invasion theory, which the distinguished British anthropologist, Edmund Leach,(1910-1981) has termed a theory born out of European racism.

More information in this regard is found in article by J. F. Jarrige and R. H. Meadow in the August, 1980 issue of Scientific American called "The Antecedents of Civilization in the Indus Valley." In the article they mention that recent excavations at Mehrgarh show that the antecedents of the Indus Valley culture go back earlier than 6,000 B. C. in India. An outside influence did not affect its development. Astronomical references established in the Vedas do indeed concur with the date of Mehrgarh. Therefore, sites such as Mehrgarh reflect the earlier Vedic age of India. Thus, we have a theory of an Aryan invasion which is not remembered by the people of the area that was supposed to have been conquered by the Aryans.  

The Vedic literature is massive and no other culture has produced anything like it in regard to ancient history. Not the Egyptians, Sumerians, Babylonians, or Chinese. So if it was produced outside of India, how could there not be some reference to its land of origination.? For the matter, how could these so called nomads who came invading the Indus region invent such a sophisticated language and produce such a distinguished record of their customs in spite of migrations and numerous battles? This is hardly likely. 

(source: Proof of Vedic Culture's Global Existence - By Stephen Knapp p. 42).

Ramachandra B.J. Rao could dub this theory as "nothing but a varnished tale utterly undeserving of the name of traditional history", an opinion which was echoed in different ways by some other persons as well. It is gratifying to note that people like Swami Vivekananda, Aurobindo Ghosh and Dadabhai Naoroji did not have appetite for racial theories, because, as Naoroji put it, they were unrealistic and often used to prove the inferiority of Asians. 

In a perceptive essay Devendra Swarup (1926-1993) Historian and Journalist, argues that after 1857 the British Imperial policy tried to reconcile the Indian upper classes to the British rule and "implement a policy of "Divide and Rule" by giving Indian diversity and institutions a racial interpretation and to uproot all the bonds of unity that had evolved through a very very long historical journey." 

One does not grudge the British rulers of India their policy, but one may justifiably ask why such a racist theory was accepted, some oppositions notwithstanding, by all and sundry not merely among the Indian masses but also among most of the professional historians and archaeologists till today. The roots of Hindu bigotry do not lie in the glorification of ancient India but in the historical acceptance of a demeaning racist theory which equated the history of ancient India to that of Aryan colonization.



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