Hinduism through History (Part -2B)

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Section – B: The Invalidity of the ARYAN INVASION THEORY

Geographic mentions in the Rig Veda – the first among the surviving Vedas – refer to almost the same regions of the Sarasvati-Sindhu belt as the archaeological sites. However, the gods and the primary economic mode differ starkly.

Again, what happened of the urban civilization remained an enigma during the time it was discovered. Even before the discovery of the Sindhu sites, there were ‘scholarly’ theories of an invasion of the ‘natives’ by a more powerful ‘Aryans’. When the site was discovered, the Invasion theory was strengthened to provide an explanation to the death of the civilization. It also presented a ‘racial’ discriminatory platform to divide the subcontinent into the native ‘Dravidian’ and the foreign ‘Aryan’.

The Aryan Invasion Theory was reinforced at the time of the discovery of the site as the reason responsible for the ‘sudden death’ of the civilization. This has been largely ruled out now as many things do not fall in place, among the foremost being that there are evidences that the civilization did not die out suddenly but declined over several hundreds of years (the link I have provided here provides anthropological evidence of there being no sudden or large scale genetic changes in the region).

There are also many other reasons that the author wishes to present here.

  • 1. The pastoral immigrants who arrived (possibly) from Central and/or West Asia and/or East Europe, did not value land as asset as they were nomadic. They merely moved their herds to greener pastures. They did not conform to the urban culture.
  • 2. They did not have a developed money economy and did not value precious commodity that were possessed or traded by the inhabitants of the Sarasvati-Sindhu civilization. Therefore, it seems presumptive that they had a reason to destroy an urban settlement that apparently posed no threat to them.
  • 3. Until very recently, nomadic tribes of India have successfully led lives of cultural isolation. It seems highly probable that the immigrants simply moved around the cities and villages and were culturally isolated from the civilized world until some of them gradually settled down and learnt agriculture and other advanced sciences from the hosts while assimilating and integrating the culture, language and philosophy of the two.
  • 4. The idea of the rich and the servile1 was present prior to the arrival of the immigrants. The archaeological sites show distinct settlements for different classes of people. This, very obviously, continued even after the immigrants began a settled life. The ‘Aryans’ and ‘Dasus’ referred to in the literary texts simply mean the ‘noble one’ or ‘Master’ and ‘servant’ respectively.
  • 5. Reference to ‘Dravida’ is clearly not racial. One explanation often quoted is that it could be linguistic that is presently South Indian. However, one senses that it could refer to a learned class as in ‘Druid’ of Europe. Here is the explanation in detail:

It has been hitherto argued that Dravida is the root to the word ‘Thamizha’ and explained as Dravida –> Dramila –> Thamila –> Thamizha. [One has this urge to provide the simile of the letter-change word-change that is often part of aptitude tests: ship–>slip–>slap–>clap–>clan but would ‘ship’ therefore be the same as ‘clan’ by the previous derivation?] One sees not even a single common letter between Dravida and Thamizha (when written in Tamil).

On the other hand, see the proximity of Dravida and Druid.

The reasoning is clear: The geographical connectivity of the regions to the South, the West and the North-West of the Himalayas makes it highly probable for peoples, cultures and languages to coalesce. Within this area, it seems very unlikely that the stark similarity in the names of two peoples is simple coincidence.

  • 6. Going by the above two points, Dravida was the learned class (not necessarily lineage based initially).

They comprised of (or later split into) two streams – the ascetic Sramanas (the Shamans) and the settled teacher-priest Brahmana (children of Brahma, of creation and learning; Abraham in the Middle East).

As well known, the Brahmanas were held in reverence for their knowledge and intellect. Often holding the advisory posts to the rulers, they wielded great amounts of power and privilege and this made them a feared people. The Druids were just as powerful in the Western world.

The Sramanas – the ones that exerted themselves to great extents – were held in high reverence and were the wandering teachers. Most of the great philosophies were crystallised by the Sramanas. They were the healers of body-mind-soul and lived a life of extreme self-deprivation. The similarity between Sramanas and the Shamans cannot be ignored.

The proximity in the roles of the Brahmana (Dravida) and the Sramana and correspondingly the roles of the Druid and the Shaman are highlighted and compared.

One does not know where any of these originated, but it was a pan South Asia-South-East Asia-Europe establishment but which Europe and South-East Asia lost consequent to the Christian and other subsequent persecutions.

Aryan was the rich warrior/trading class.

Dasu was the poor servile class.

Later these crystallised into Brahmana (Dravida), Kshatriya and Vaishya (Aryan) and Shudra (Dasu).

In short, these were all mere class/professional caste distinctions.

  • 7. Arya means ‘Noble one’ in Sanskrit. Ayya means the same in the South Indian languages and is used commonly in names by even those that have no exposure to any language outside their own. Why would one (lovingly) call a ‘Dravidian’ an ‘Aryan’ if Dravida and Arya were (antagonistic) race mentions?

The above points along with evidences that there was no abrupt decline of the civilization point to the fact that there was no ‘Aryan Invasion’ of any kind and the immigrants did not discriminate against the earlier inhabitants. Rather, the two integrated successfully into a megaculture.


1 Harappan Civilization, Prabhat Kumar Basant (Ancient India – A Source book for Civil Services Examination – Publications Division, March 1995)

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