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Revising the “Aryan Invasion of India” Theory

Several of you may already be aware of the debate that has now been current for several years around the theory of �Aryan Invasion of India�. Based on archaeological evidence, new research and fresh examination of existing evidence (and stripping away the colonial bias of earlier interpretations), it now appears that the theory was fundamentally flawed and is difficult to justify in the light of new findings.

I was therefore very pleased when I read �The Aryan-Dravidian Controversy�, By David Frawley [– thanks Sukand]. It very articulately sets the argument for considering a revision of the whole theory and I have attempted a summary below. The original essay in its entirety can be accessed at http://www.hindunet.org/hindu_history/ancient/aryan/aryan_frawley_1.html
For those of you who are not aware of the tremendous work that is being done by Dr Frawley, please have a look at http://www.vedanet.com/index.html

As Dr Frawley says in his introduction, although many of the theories that British historians postulated had a colonial bias [1], they are still accepted by many Hindus, although �a deeper examination reveals they may have no real objective or scientific basis.� To quote further,

�One of these ideas is that India is a land of two races – the lighter-skinned Aryans and the darker-skinned Dravidians – and that the Dravidians were the original inhabitants of India whom the invading Aryans conquered and dominated. From this came the additional idea that much of what we call Hindu culture was in fact Dravidian, and later borrowed by Aryans who, however, never gave the Dravidians proper credit for it. This idea has been used to turn the people of south India against the people of north India, as if the southerners were a different race.� Dr Frawley makes the point that colour was the dominant influence in European theories of race which projected Europeans as belonging to a �white� (and therefore superior) race who had the duty and obligation to bear the burden of the �dark� (therefore inferior) natives.

This mental bias was then transposed on the (mistaken) theory that the �fair-skinned� Aryans had �subjugated/conquered� the �dark-skinned� indigenous people who had subsequently migrated southwards.

Around the same time, research into Sanskrit and other Indo-European languages revealed surprisingly large similarities and it became obvious that Indo-European languages and Sanskrit shared a similar origin. It was of course automatically assumed that, �the original speakers of any root Indo-European language must have been ‘white’�. The Europeans of course could not even consider the possibility that �their languages could have been derived from the darker-skinned Hindus. (Further) As all Hindus were dark compared to the Europeans, it was assumed that the original white Indo-European invaders of India must have been assimilated by the dark indigenous population, though they left their mark more on north India where people have a lighter complexion.

This �racial interpretation� was carried further and applied to explain the reference in Vedas to the fight between �light� and �darkness�. This was �naturally� assumed to be a battle between light-skinned Aryans and dark-skinned Dravidians. The fact that most religions in the world (and most mythological references) speak about the battle between light and darkness (as a metaphor for good and evil) was conveniently ignored.

This projection of racism onto the ancient history of India was further extended to �explain� the caste system. The reference in Vedas to �Brahmins�(being) white, Kshatriyas red, Vaishyas yellow, and Shudras black� was misinterpreted from its original context of referring to �gunas� and was used to conclude that Brahmins were originally the white Aryans and the Dravidians the dark Shudras [2]

The fact that this theory flew in the face of empirical evidence (where are the red and yellow-coloured castes in India?) was also conveniently ignored.

Dr Frawley then points out the extent to which the ideas were misinterpreted:
�The racial idea reached yet more ridiculous proportions. Vedic passages speaking of their enemies (mainly demons) as without nose (a-nasa), were interpreted as a racial slur against the snub-nosed Dravidians. Now Dravidians are not snub-nosed or low nosed people, as anyone can see by examining their facial features. And the Vedic demons are also described as footless (a-pada). Where is such a footless and noseless race and what does this have to do with the Dravidians? Moreover Vedic gods like Agni (fire) are described as footless and headless. Where are such headless and footless Aryans? Yet such ‘scholar- ship’ can be found in prominent Western books on the history of India, some published in India and used in schools in India to the present day. This idea was taken further and Hindu gods like Krishna, whose name means dark, or Shiva who is portrayed as dark, were said to have originally been Dravidian gods taken over by the invading Aryans (under the simplistic idea that Dravidians as dark-skinned people must have worshipped dark colored gods). Yet Krishna and Shiva are not black but dark blue. Where is such a dark blue race?

Moreover the different Hindu gods, like the classes of Manu, have different colors relative to their qualities. Lakshmi is portrayed as pink, Saraswati as white, Kali as blue-black, or Yama, the God of death, as green. Where have such races been in India or elsewhere? In a similar light, some scholars pointed out that Vedic gods like Savitar have golden hair and golden skin, thus showing blond and fair-skinned people living in ancient India. However, Savitar is a sun-god and sun-god are usually gold in color, as has been the case of the ancient Egyptian, Mayan, and Inca and other sun-gods. Who has a black or blue sun-god? This is from the simple fact that the sun has a golden color. What does this have to do with race? And why should it be racial statement in the Vedas but not elsewhere?

At the same time (circa 19th century), although several scholars (including Max Muller) did state that �Aryan� was not a racial term and there was no evidence of it being used as such (either in the Vedas or other ancient texts), these views were largely ignored.

As Dr Frawley states, �We should clearly note that there is no place in Hindu literature wherein Aryan has ever been equated with a race or with a particular set of physical characteristics. The term Aryan means “noble” or “spiritual”, and has been so used by Buddhists, Jains and Zoroastrians as well as Hindus. Religions that have called themselves Aryan, like all of these, have had members of many different races. Race was never a bar for anyone joining some form of the Arya Dharma or teaching of noble people.

If one looks at recent archaeological evidence, the theory of �Aryan Invasion� becomes even less tenable.

Research on the racial profiles of the original Indus Valley[3] inhabitants shows similarities to the inhabitants of North India of the present day. In view of this, it is hard to imagine that any large scale or significant �invasion� took place into the region in the last 4000 years. Even if it did, it must have been so far back that it has no relevance (or bearing on) what we know today about Hindu (Indian) culture.

As Dr Frawley accurately points out, �the idea of Aryan and Dravidian races is the product of an unscientific, culturally biased form of thinking that saw race in terms of color. There are scientifically speaking, no such things as Aryan or Dravidian races. The three primary races are Caucasian, the Mangolian and the Negroid. Both the Aryans and Dravidians are related branches of the Caucasian race generally placed in the same Mediterranean sub-branch.

The difference between the so-called Aryans of the north and Dravidians of the south is not a racial division. Biologically both the north and south Indians are of the same Caucasian race, only when closer to the equator the skin becomes darker, and under the influence of constant heat the bodily frame tends to become a little smaller. While we can speak of some racial differences between north and south Indian people, they are only secondary.

For example, if we take a typical person from Punjab, another from Maharashtra, and a third from Tamilnadu we will find that the Maharashtrians generally fall in between the other two in terms of build and skin color. We see a gradual shift of characteristics from north to south, but no real different race. An Aryan and Dravidian race in India is no more real than a north and a south European race.

Those who use such terms are misusing language. We would just as well place the blond Swede of Europe in a different race from the darker haired and skinned person of southern Italy. Nor is the Caucasian race the “white” race. Caucasians can be of any color from pure white to almost pure black, with every shade of brown in between. The pre-dominant Caucasian type found in the world is not the blond-blue-eyes northern European but the black hair, brown-eyed darker skinned Mediterranean type that we find from southern Europe to north India. Similarly the Mongolian race is not yellow. Many Chinese have skin whiter than many so-called Caucasians. In fact of all the races, the Caucasian is the most variable in its skin color�

Dr Frawley then examines the evidence and the theory of there being significant differences in religion, language and ancient texts between the two �races�, Aryan and Dravidian. In each case, he finds that either the theory is not based on empirical evidence and/or it uses selective observations to fit the conclusion of two different �races�.

To summarise, the theory of two distinct races (Aryan and Dravidian) is neither tenable on empirical evidence nor on religious, linguistic and �cultural� grounds.

He then suggests that people in the South should not consider themselves as �Dravids� and as being different and distinct from the ancient Vedic culture. Nor is there any reason for those in the North to believe that they are the true inheritors of the �Aryan legacy� for there is no such legacy and no evidence of any distinct, culturally superior race.

In his words, �What is necessary is to assert�(that)�the Aryans and Dravidians are part of the came culture and we need not speak of them as separate. Dividing them and placing them at odds with each other serves the interests of neither but only serves to damage their common culture (which is what most of those who propound these ideas are often seeking). Perhaps the saddest thing is that modern Indian politicians have also used this division to promote their own ambitions, though it is harmful to the unity of the country.



Next, Dr Frawley refers to a number of separate reports and research which indicates that the Indus Valley Civilization may have actually been established by the Dravidians and the Aryan Invasion theory may have been based on half-baked evidence and a blinkered view of progress made in ancient India long before the Christian era. Thus,

“Dravidians, whose descendents still live in Southern India, established the first city communities, in the Indus valley, introduced irrigation schemes, developed pottery and evolved a well ordered system of government.” (Reader’s Digest Great World Atlas, 1970)

Clyde Ahmad Winters, who has written extensively on Dravidian origins (has) commented, “Archaeological and linguistic evidence indicates that the Dravidians were the founders of the Harappan culture which extended from the Indus Valley through northeastern Afghanistan, on into Turkestan. The Harappan civilization existed from 2600-1700 BC. The Harappan civilization was twice the size the Old Kingdom of Egypt. In addition to trade relations with Mesopotamia and Iran, the Harappan city states also had active trade relations with the Central Asian peoples.

Professor Klaus Klostermaier in ‘Questioning the Aryan Invasion Theory and Revising Ancient Indian History’ (has) commented: “India had a tradition of learning and scholarship much older and vaster than the European countries that, from the sixteenth century onwards, became its political masters. Indian scholars are rewriting the history of India today. One of the major points of revision concerns the so called ‘Aryan invasion theory’, often referred to as ‘colonial-missionary’, implying that it was the brainchild of conquerors of foreign colonies who could not but imagine that all higher culture had to come from outside ‘backward’ India, and who likewise assumed that a religion could only spread through a politically supported missionary effort.While not buying into the more sinister version of this revision, which accuses the inventors of the Aryan invasion theory of malice and cynicism, there is no doubt that early European attempts to explain the presence of Indians in India had much to with the commonly held Biblical belief that humankind originated from one pair of humans- Adam and Eve to be precise …

Hinduism Today concluded in Rewriting Indian History – Hindu Timeline: “Although lacking supporting scientific evidence, this (Aryan Invasion) theory, and the alleged Aryan-Dravidian racial split, was accepted and promulgated as fact for three main reasons.
� It provided a convenient precedent for Christian British subjugation of India.
� It reconciled ancient Indian civilisation and religious scripture with the 4000 BCE Biblical date of Creation.
� It created division and conflict between the peoples of India, making them vulnerable to conversion by Christian missionaries.”

“Scholars today of both East and West believe the Rig Veda people who called themselves Aryan were indigenous to India, and there never was an Aryan invasion. The languages of India have been shown to share common ancestry in ancient Sanskrit and Tamil. Even these two apparently unrelated languages, according to current “super-family” research, have a common origin: an ancient language dubbed Nostratic.

Finally, Dr Frawley provides some background and an explanation of how the Aryan Invasion Theory was conceived and how it became the accepted wisdom.

In his own words, �One of the most interesting puzzles in archaeology, and one that hasn’t really been completely answered yet, concerns the story of the supposed Aryan invasion of the Indian subcontinent.

The story goes like this: The Aryans were a tribe of IndoEuropean-speaking, horse-riding nomads living in the arid steppes of Eurasia. Sometime around 1700 BC, the Aryans invaded the ancient urban civilizations of the Indus Valley, and destroyed that culture. The Indus Valley civilizations were far more civilized than any horse-back nomad, having had a written language, farming capabilities, and led a truly urban existence. Some 1,200 years after the supposed invasion, the descendants of the Aryans, so they say, wrote the classic Indian literature called the Vedic manuscripts.

Hitler, or more specifically, Hitler’s pet archaeologist Gustaf Kossinna (1958-1931), used this idea to put forward the Aryans as a master race of Indo-Europeans, who were supposed to be Nordic in appearance and directly ancestral to the Germans.

The problem is, most if not all of this story – “Aryans” as a cultural group, invasion from the arid steppes, Nordic appearance, the Indus Civilization being destroyed, and, certainly not least, the Germans being descended from them – may not be true at all.

The historical basis of this theory was an account of Indian culture by French missionary Abbe Dubois (1770 � 1848) who was driven by the need to fit what he saw with the Biblical myths of Noah and the Great Flood. He also authored some poorly translated versions of the existing literature.

His work was translated into English in 1897 by the East India Company, prefaced by Max Muller and became the basis of the Aryan Invasion Theory.

When excavations in Mohenjo-daro and other sites revealed a far advanced culture, instead of using this evidence to bury the Aryan Invasion Theory, it was ingenuously incorporated to confirm to the existing hypothesis.

Thus it was assumed that the Harappa civilisation must have been destroyed by an �invasion of people from Europe� who then went on to create the second great civilization of India.

Note that instead of admitting that the Aryan Invasion Theory may not be true and there may have been continuity in the civilization and culture for the past five thousand years, British historians used the evidence to confirm to the hypothesis of a superior race invading India.

As Dr Frawley says, �It turns out that there are serious problems with this argument. There are no references to an invasion in the Vedic manuscripts; and the word “Arya” means “superior being” as an honorific, not as a superior cultural group. Secondly, recent archaeological evidence suggests that the Indus civilization was shut down by droughts combined with a devastating flood, not a violent confrontation. Recent archaeological evidence also shows that most of the so-called “Indus River” valley peoples lived in the Sarasvati River, which is mentioned in the Vedic manuscripts as a homeland. And, there is no biological or archaeological evidence of a massive invasion of people of a different race.

And he concludes by saying, �Born from a colonial mentality, corrupted by a Nazi propaganda machine, the Aryan invasion theory is finally undergoing radical reassessment by Indian archaeologists and their colleagues, using the Vedic documents themselves, additional linguistic studies, and physical evidence revealed through archaeological studies. Indian cultural history is an ancient and complex one, and one that only time will teach us.

I would add to that by saying that we need to do more to make everyone aware of these biases in the �history� that continues to be taught in schools and colleges even today. And although a generation or two has grown up with this warped colonial-view of Indian history, it is never too late.

P.S. As I was summarising this, I was made aware of a recent change that the BBC made on its website in the section on Hinduism (see �The Aryan Invasion Theory – Why is the theory no longer accepted?� http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/history/history5.shtml ).

I was very pleased to see that even the BBC is now coming around to the view that the �Theory of Aryan Invasion� was a result of poor research based on evidence that has since been discredited and based on misinterpretations of archaeological, linguistic and ethnological observations.


[1] – in the sense that most of them sought to perpetuate colonial myths, an example being that ancient India had no art or culture to speak of and most of the developments in these areas happened with the advent of the Mughals

[2] – note that what these colours actually signify are �the gunas or qualities of each class. White is the color of purity (sattvaguna), dark that of impurity (tamoguna), red the color of action (rajoguna), and yellow the color of trade (also rajoguna).�

[3] � (Indus Valley culture) which should more properly be characterised as �Saraswati culture� since its centre was not Indus Valley but the ancient river �Saraswati� which dried up around 1900 BC

Related Post: The Aryan-Dravidian Controversy

October 8th, 2005 Posted by | Ancient Indian History, Debates & Discussions, Distortions, Misrepresentation about Hinduism, Distortions, Misrepresentations about India, Hindu Dharma, Hindu Social System, Indian History, Sanatana Dharma | 141 comments


  1. (cont.)

    Parpola writes the following on page 367 of The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia:

    Important clues to an archaeological understanding of the Rgvedic invasion are provided by the references to the enemies of the Rgvedic Aryans. Indra and his protégés, namely the earliest Rgvedic kings, are said to have destroyed the strongholds of these enemies. When Sir Mortimer Wheeler unearthed the huge defensive walls of Harappa in 1946, he identified the Dasa forts as the fortified of the Indus Civilization (Wheeler 1947: 78-82). This hypothesis was widely accepted until 1976, when Rau published his study of relevant Vedic passages which showed that, unlike the rectangular layout of the Indus cities, the Dasa forts had circular, and often multiple concentric, walls. Moreover, the Dasa forts were not regularly inhabited cities but functioned as temporary shelters, particularly for the protection of cattle. I have argued that the Dasas, Dasyus, and Panis were actually Indo-Iranian speaking BMAC tribes, and that the battles against them described in the Rgveda took place in and around northern Bactria, before entrance to Gandhara on the eastern side of the Hindukush (Parpola 1988: 208-218).

    In other words, the Dasas of the Rgveda were NOT Harappans. They were the inhabitants of a previously-unknown civilization called the Bactria and Margiana Archaeological Complex, which flourished in Turkmenistan and Northern Afghanistan from 2500-1500 BCE. More interestingly, the BMAC was an Indo-Iranian civilization, which makes the Rgvedic war an intraracial conflict between two different groups of Indo-Europeans.

    Comment by Ramesh | September 19, 2010

  2. (cont.)
    Now, you may ask, what religion did the Dasas follow? Dr. Parpola writes the following on page 370 of The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia:

    The word tripura has important religious implications. I shall only briefly deal with the religion of the BMAC, which I have examined elsewhere (Parpola 1988: 251-264; also Parpola 1992, 1993, in press). There is widespread evidence for the worship of a goddess connected with lions (for a new BMAC seal with this motif see Sarianidi 1993c), ultimately going back to the traditions of the ancient Near East. Connections with the later Indian worship of Durga, the goddess of victory and fertility escorted by a lion or tiger, the protectress of the stronghold (Durga), are suggested by several things. The ground plan of the Dashly-3 “palace” is strikingly similar to the Tantric mandala (Brentjes 1981; Brentjes 1986: 234; Brentjes 1987: 128f.), the ritual “palace” of the god or goddess in the Hindu cult. A Bactrian seal depicting copulating pairs, both human and animal, reminds one of the orgies associated with the principal festival of the goddess. Wine is associated with the cult of the goddess and may have been enjoyed from the fabulous drinking cups made from silver and gold found in Bactria and Baluchistan, for viticulture is an integral part of the BMAC (Miller 1993: 151, 154). Durga is worshipped in eastern India as Tripura, a name which connects her with the strongholds of the Dasas.
    Of course, the Sakta tradition of eastern India is far removed from Bactria and the Dasas both temporally and geographically. But the distance between these two traditions can be bridged by means of Vedic and Epic evidence relating to Vratya religion and archaeologically by the strong resemblance between the antennae-hilted swords from BMAC sites in Bactria and the Gangetic Copper Hoards (c. 1700-1500 BC). The linguistic data associated with the Dasas also link them with the easternmost branch of Middle Indo-Aryan, the Magadhi Prakrit. The age-and-area principle of anthropology suggests that the earliest wave of Indo-Aryans was the first to reach the other end of the Subcontinent.

    Comment by Ramesh | September 19, 2010

  3. (cont.)

    In other words, the Dasas of the Rgveda were Shakti worshipers, and their religion involved sex and alcohol consumption. And that wasn’t all that they were doing. On page 176 of The Strange World of Human Sacrifice, Dr. Parpola writes the following:

    A lion-escorted martial goddess imported from the Near East is depicted on the seals of the “Bactria and Margiana Archaeological Complex” (=BMAC) of the Bronze Age (c. 2500-1500 BC) in Afghanistan and Turkmenistan; she apparently kept her Sumerian name Nana(ya) for two millennia, as her counterpart worshipped in Afghanistan in Kusana times was so called, and is worshipped in Afghanistan even nowadays as “Bibi Nanni”. This BMAC culture interacted with the Indus Civilization, and may be a principal source of the “Gangetic Copper Hoards”. A BMAC-type cylinder seal from the Harappan site Kalibangan bears an Indus inscription and a tiger-escorted goddess in the midst of two warriors spearing each other. Vedic texts show Vac (“Voice, Speech”) as a goddess of war identified with the lioness and connected with the Vratyas. The Vedic vratyastomas were performed before and after raiding expeditions, and closely resemble the later Hindu navaratri festivals of Goddess Durga, which involve sexual license and feasting with the meat of many different sacrificial animals. The Vedic lists of “unclean” animals (to be released) agree with Puranic lists of victims pleasing the goddess; in both cases, a human victim as the most appreciated offering heads the list.

    Comment by Ramesh | September 19, 2010

  4. pl can soemone commenton this http://haindavakeralam.com/HKPage.aspx?PageID=11511

    Comment by Anonymous | September 20, 2010

  5. Ramesh,
    You appear to put a lot of stock into Asko Parpola. You may like to take a look on Elst’s response to his arguments:



    Comment by Sid | September 20, 2010

  6. Dear Ramesh,

    Asko Parpola is an older scholar. No scholar including Parpola subscribes to invasions so there is no point using the work ‘invasion’ anymore. You can read latest works such as
    From Harappa to Hastinapura : a study of the earliest South Asian city and civilization from the point of view of
    archaeology and ancient Indian literature / Piotr Andreevich Eltsov. All studies have shown that the notion of a rural post harappan india is a myth. Here are more quotes. Please write to me sujay.rao@in.ibm.com if you want alternative explanations.

    In the book ‘A History of India’, Hermann Kulke and Dietmer Rothermund 14 state
    “The extension of the Vedic culture into the Central and Eastern Gangetic plains was as
    important for the further course of Indian history as the period of their early settlement in the
    Punjab and the Ganga Yamuna doab. The penetration of the east soon led to the emergence of
    the first historical kingdoms and to a second phase of urbanization, the first being that of the
    Indus civilization.”
    Frank Raymond Allchin and Erdosy state in their book “The Archeology of Early South
    Asia” 15
    “Lal’s data show that regardless of the absence of a Central place or incipient kingdoms
    in the region surveyed, the number of new settlements increased and began to colonize or rather
    exploit areas previously ignored. During the BRW phase, a total of 17.25 hectares were occupied
    by settlements. During the PGW phase, this had increased to 53.58 hectares and to 140.05 in the
    NBPW and to 291.12 hectares in the early historic. We may convert this data into possible
    population densities of 200 people per hectare (Dhavalikar et all 1988). During the BRW period,
    settlements were occupied by some 3450 people, the PGW settlements by 10716, the NBPW
    period by 28010 and the early historic period by 58,430 people. It is possible to compare these
    results with those from Erdosy’s survey. The foregoing discussion has expressly attempted to
    illustrate that the stretch of c 1000 years between the two great civilizations was not the Dark
    ages as suggested by Wheeler (Wheeler 1959,114). We must abandon Wheeler’s vision of the
    period as consisting of semi-nomadic food gathering communities, capable of clearing patches of
    jungle and living mainly on hunting and fishing for one of large permanent settlements, some of
    which may be surely classified as urban.”
    In the book ‘The quest for the origins of Vedic culture’, Edwin Bryant states
    “Shaffer (1993) refers to one set of data that undermines this simplistic portrayal of an
    apparent devolution and re-evolution of urbanization which has nearly become a South Asian
    archeological axiom. Although there appears to have been a definite shift in settlements from the
    Indus valley proper in late and post-Harappan periods, there is a significant increase in the
    number of sites in Gujarat, and an explosion (i.e a 300 percent increase) of new settlements in
    East Punjab to accommodate the transferral of the population. Shaffer is insistent that this shift by
    Harappan and perhaps by other Indus valley cultural mosaic groups is the only archeologically
    documented west to east migrations in ancient India before the first half of the first millennium BC.
    Moreover, although there is a general decrease in the size of the settlements, not all of these
    were small and insignificant in comparison with the large complex structures of the Mature
    Harappan period. Data from Bahawalpur, the region of Pakistan most thoroughly surveyed,
    suggests an increase in the size of the settlements of the late Harappan period in comparison to
    the Harappan period. (Shaffer 1993, 57). This is very significant. More surveys have revealed
    large post-Harappan settlements in the Indus region after the major Indus centres were

    Comment by Sujay Rao Mandavilli | September 20, 2010

  7. Dear Anonymous,

    You wanted a comment on the article! I do not subscribe to the Dravidian Harappa theory. Mail me at sujay.rao@in.ibm.com, we can discuss

    Comment by Sujay Rao Mandavilli | September 24, 2010

  8. Dear Shantanu and others

    I think you will enjoy reading

    (a) The languages of the Gods in the World of men (by Sheldon Pollock)

    (b) The Indus script a Positional Statistic approach by Michael Korvink

    Both are outstanding works of twenty first century scholarship

    I am giving the links here. Some of the pages are disabled

    (a) http://books.google.co.in/books?id=0UCh7r2TjQIC&pg=PA114&dq=The+languages+of+the+Gods+in+the+world+of+men&hl=en&ei=2iqkTPH9LYamngegn7iQAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=The%20languages%20of%20the%20Gods%20in%20the%20world%20of%20men&f=false

    (b) http://books.google.co.in/books?id=35jHAHCAWlUC&printsec=frontcover&dq=indus+script+korvink&hl=en&ei=JSukTIvrGJCknQfPhMGQAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Both , in my view, are very high quality scholarship. Hope you will enjoy reading them.

    Comment by Sujay Rao Mandavilli | September 30, 2010

  9. Sujoy,

    Thank you. First book looks very interesting. Second is a work only specialists can enjoy.

    Comment by Sid | October 1, 2010

  10. Sid,

    Thanks. The second link I posted is a shorter version. His research on the Indus script runs to 210 pages.

    I am searching for Eltsov’s work, from Harappa to Hastinapura which is also twenty first century scholar ship. I’ll give it to you when i find it

    Comment by Sujay Rao Mandavilli | October 1, 2010

  11. Richard Meadow on the Indus script

    He has made many contributions to Indology and has introduced the Indus valley civilization to many amongst the American public


    Recently there was a conference on Ethnogenesis in South Asia,


    there are one or two downloads available. keep scrolling down!!

    Comment by Sujay Rao Mandavilli | October 8, 2010

  12. Analyze (!) Focus on items followed by (???) Witzel making fun of Kenoyer’s speech. All apparently pseudo-science. Comes from (a) The future is always the nineteenth century (b) ‘show progess’ such that it doesn’t conflict with the nineteenth century.

    some data from sensible scholars


    more “interesting” news now, in a recent PR talk by M. Kenoyer (U.
    Wisconsin), given at the Oriental Inst., Chicago.

    Big download: 217 MB.

    All the canards, long-disproved (on this list!), are there. The
    Harappans had:

    * yoga (???)
    * weights with a uniform standard
    * N-S aligned towns
    * passports (!) (???)
    * no war (???)
    * of course no movement of people (except for some merchants) (???)

    * The “script” is discussed at great length. With a proto-script
    developing to the “script” of the Mature Indus period. “We miss a
    Rosetta stone for decipherment” …
    Of course, not one word that the “script” thesis has been contested…

    And, surprisingly the Chinese Western Zhou ruled at 1500 BCE…
    If Harappan chronology (and archeological facts) are as sloppy, may
    all the Harappan gods, Pseudo-Shiva (???) included, save us.


    Comment by Sujay Rao Mandavilli | November 8, 2010

  13. History of Yoga


    it will be nice if someone can take up study of continuity of traditions since 3000 BC

    Comment by Sujay Rao Mandavilli | November 8, 2010

  14. I am not an expert and will refrain from making any judgmental remarks.

    Just few references:

    1. Nobody seems to reply to Talageri’s work.
    2. Regarding “Horse” controversy, following link will be of interest for a contrary view – “The Horse And The Aryan Debate” by Michael Danino –


    All the best!

    Comment by GyanP | November 8, 2010

  15. One interesting link –


    This opens up some interesting lines of thought :)

    Comment by Deep | November 8, 2010

  16. From an email by Dr S Kalyanaraman-ji:


    Prof. Nicholas Kazanas, Director, Omilos Meleton Cultural Institute, Greece, delivering a lecture on ‘The Collapse of Aryan Invasion Theory and the prevalence of Indigenism’ at IIT-Madras on 26th February 2011.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsqMWj0WFKc (Video)

    (23 slides): All inclusiveness of Rigveda

    (25 slides)

    In a series of six lectures, in Chennai, between February 26 to March 2, 2011, Prof. Nicholas Kazanas presented perspectives on Vedic civilization, indigenous evolution of vedic language and culture, spread of vedic culture in interaction areas and the all-inclusiveness of Vedic thought and language.

    With the collapse of the Aryan Theory so effectively marshalled by the linguist, Prof. Nicholas Kazanas, the ‘linguistic doctrine’ of Indo-European (IE) linguistics articulated by the late Prof. MB Emeneau also collapses. Together with this twin collapse, the corollary ‘Dravidian’ theories will also have to be revised.

    The significance of the emerging ‘indigene’ paradigm, from ca. 4th millennium BCE, is that further researches are needed on the Indus language, on the Sanskritization of Saptasindhu and on the formation and evolution of Indian languages.

    Comment by B Shantanu | March 2, 2011

  17. Hi,

    i am happy to announce the publication of my research paper
    ‘The reconfirmation and reinforcement of the Indus script thesis’

    this disproves Farmers theory on the Indus script( Sproats smoking gun is a complete non starter) and shows why the Indus script was logosyllabic and longer texts nearly certainly existed in the ivc.
    Any one who wishes to disagree with me must provide a systematic refutation of all my points.

    Until then all of you must declare. ‘The indus script was logo-syllabic. back to square one. The case for existence of longer texts in the IVC has never been stronger than it is now! happy reading.


    Comment by Sujay Rao Mandavilli | March 19, 2011

  18. Dear Shantanu,
    There is a great article on the date of Shri. Ram and his dynasty; a study based on astro history – read with the position of the stars.
    It has been reviewed by Francois Gautier.
    It makes very interesting reading and is available in the Indian Express, Sunday Edition, dated 20/03/2011.

    Comment by v.c.krishnan | March 20, 2011

  19. vck: I googled for this but could not find it. Any links?

    Comment by B Shantanu | March 22, 2011

  20. Shantanu,
    Probably vck was talking about this:

    Comment by Sid | March 23, 2011

  21. Dear Sid,
    Thanks for the link. Yes Shantanu, that was the article.

    Comment by v.c.krishnan | March 23, 2011

  22. Sri Kota Venkatachalam’s works on Indian history narrated from a traditional viewpoint are important works for those interested in developing an indigenous perspective of our history which free from colonial tropes (like AIT) and other secondary and tertiary analytical devices like linguistics. Essentially Sri Venkatachalam’s work published in the 1950’s is an attempt to construct a modern indigenous narrative based on textual and literary evidence of traditional sources like the Puranas. Apart from attempting to reconcile the various Puranic narratives, these works also manage to show in harsh light the various theories(hypothesii), assumptions, , frameworks, prejudices and sometimes outright lies and obfuscation that allowed western historians to concoct a largely fictitious history of India. Though some of these books may seem a little polemical at times there is suffecient textual testimony to ignite in discerning readers a deep discomfort with existing frameworks and historical understanding. This also helps us understand the need to construct our history afresh based on indigenous narratives rather than colonial analysis.

    1. Age of Mahabharata War : Invokes textual and historical testimony of the puranas and various other documents in support of the traditional date of Mahabharata war in 3139 BC as against colonial constructs variously claiming 1800 or 900 BC.

    2. Age of Milinda, Buddha, Amtiyoka & Yugapurana : Identifies Sidhharta Gautama (Budhha’s) birth in 1887 BC as against modern dating of 500 BC. Other figures idenfied here are Milinda of MIlindapannha – who is not the Bactrian Indo-Greek Menander as is currently assumed, and Amtiyoka (who is not the greek king Antiochios) mentioned in purported Mauryan Ashokan inscriptions.

    3. Chronology of Nepal : Discusses the traditional narrative of dynasties in nepal from Nepal Rajavamshavali with corroborative narratives from other places in India. This extremely ancient King list goes back at least 10 generations before the great Bharata war.

    4. Chronology of Kashmir reconstructed : Discusses the Chronology of Kashmir which too begins before the Bharata war as narrated by Kalhana in his Rajatarangini.This is treated for its veracity by quoting textual evidence in various Puranas.

    5. A Plot in Indian Chronology: Basically a treatment geneologies of dynasties from Maghada and Ujjain primarily based on Puranic evidence. SOme of the above material and also astronomical, copper hoards, and rock inscriptions are also analysed, along with texts like Arthashastra and greek accounts to understand the timelines from a traditional perspective. This results in Mauryan kingdom (probably not empire) being placed in circa 1600 BC and the Gupta empire coming into its own around the time of Alexandrian raids (not invasion) around 300 BC (not 300 AD as currently asumed). Some pan-indian emperors who were conveniently mythologized by modern historians ( and consequently dissappeared from public and cultural memory and history books ) like Vikramaditya of Ujjain and his grandson Shalivahana (Shalivahana is not Gautamiputra Satakarni as is currently assumed) are rehabilitated. Sankara is located in circa 500 BC (according to the geneologies of gurus of the paramparas of the various mathas he established) from the currently assumed 600-700 AD timeline.

    These are very important works in the sense that they make it difficult to assume civilizational discontinuity in the post Sarasvati-Sindhu (Indus) civiliation phases. This apparent discontinuity presently presupposes Aryan or Indo-european influx (and linguistic and cultural changes) in the aforesaid timeline. Understanding the indegenous narrative that historically accounts for these timelines and enables us to locate identifiable political, cultural and lifestyle continuities would negate the need to resort to hypothetical eurocentric constructs to explain our own history.

    Many thanks to Blogger Jambudveepa for posting scanned (pdf) copies of the books (1)(2)(3)(4) in


    Book (5) can be found in


    Other online books are partially available such as T S Narayana Sastri’s ‘Age of Sankara’ discussing the various paramparas of the Matha’s which place Adi Sankara (Sankara Bhagavatapadacharya) in circa 500 BC (a contemporary of Haala Satavahana of Satavahana dynasty which as per the puranas just preceded the Guptas – Guptas were known as Andhra-bhrityas as they ended the Andhra-Satavahana dynasty)


    Would request bloggers to kindly notify if they find simlar books or documents online.

    Apologies to Shantanu for taking up so much of his space.

    Comment by Rajiv Chandran | March 24, 2011

  23. Shantanu, for knowing more about date of Ram, you may Google ‘Pushkar Bhatnagar’

    Comment by Archpagan | March 25, 2011

  24. @Rajiv,
    Excellent material. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Sid | March 26, 2011

  25. Excerpts from Still no trace of an Aryan invasion by Koenraad Elst:
    …Petrie purposely avoided the topic of the alleged Aryan invasion. ..He only agreed to discuss it when asked by the chairman in question time, but remained non-committal. He said the question was so complicated that it would perhaps never be decided.

    At that point I proposed to narrow the question down to a degree of simplicity where a field archaeologist would definitely be able to answer. He agreed that Prof. B.B. Lal had made his name in the 1950s and 60s by detailing our knowledge of the Painted Grey Ware and identifying it as characteristic of the invading Aryans moving eastwards, deeper into India; and that Lal had later repudiated any claims of an Aryan invasion and is now a leading light of the non-invasionist school. Lal now says that no archaeological trace of an Aryan invasion has ever been found or identified. Petrie also conceded that Harvard Sanskritist Prof. Michael Witzel had likewise admitted that “as yet” no such arcaheological evidence of an Aryan invasion has been discovered. So, a very simple question would be: did Cameron Petrie, as a field archaeologist fresh from the recentmost excavation, ever come across actual pieces of evidence for an Aryan invasion. He smiled and agreed that he too had no such sensational discovery to announce. So: as of 2011, after many decades of being the official and much-funded hypothesis, the Aryan Invasion Theory has still not been confirmed by even a single piece of archaeological evidence.

    Comment by B Shantanu | March 28, 2011

  26. Some excerpts from the Prologue to Dr Aich’s excellent and painstakingly researched book, “Lies with Long Legs” which I am hoping to review soon…These excerpts deal with the “Aryan Invasion Theory”:

    1] …Some of these “Aryan wanderers” reached Northwest India. The Hindukush was the only pass through the Himalayan massif. How could these nomads from the Turkmenian steppe find this single pass? Wandering in from an area thousands of kilometres away?

    2] They settled down in Northwest India. They brought their language with them. Quite logically. This was Sanskrit. But without scripts. They invented the device of writing in India only. Had they brought a script with them, we would have found it in their original native land. However, the Sanskrit script was found nowhere. Therefore it is deduced that the need to store their knowledge for future generations in writing was first felt in Northwest India. And they accomplished the job nicely. How long does it usually take for a cultural community to devise a script?
    3] We are assured that the “New Indians” called themselves “Aryans” and the language they brought with them was “Sanskrit”. Up to now Sanskrit has been universally regarded as the best arranged language. …It is supposed to be sufficiently established that there is a close kinship between Sanskrit, the language of the Northwest-Indian “Aryans” on the one hand and Greek, Latin, Germanic and Celtic languages on the other hand. The family of the “Indoeuropeans”. So to speak. And who has discovered and established this kinship? Not those “Aryans” who passed through the Hindukush and created the world-wide known literature like Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Sutras, and so forth and allegedly called themselves “Aryans” in their literature. No! None of them, not in any of their writings, not even once has it been indicated that at some period in central Asia their “Lebensraum” became so congested that a lot of their brothers, sisters, cousins set out on a search for new space to live and emigrated in the end. No! The “Sanskrit-Aryans” did not remember anything else, so it is told, than that they were “Aryans”. An absolute “black out” on all other things.

    4] Since the emergence of Jainism and Buddhism about 2,600 years ago the history of India is well documented. During that period Sanskrit was no longer spoken. The literature on metaphysics, on science, on history, the books (Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Sutras) and the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata were, however, already known in the 7th century BC. So the “modern scientists” concluded precisely that this abundance of Sanskrit literature emerged before the 7th century BC only. So far, so good. The conquest and/or immigration is, however, dated around the 15th century BC. How was this dating determined?

    5] The diligent diggers, the archaeologists have yet to find evidence of an “Aryan conquest”, however. On the contrary.

    6] Naturally the “race”, allegedly inferior to the “Aryans”, had also a name. They were “Dravidians”. Unfortunately we have not come across such an exceptional “scholar” having the “qualities” of a Friedrich Maximilian Mueller, who could have told us whether they also did call themselves “Dravidians” in their early literature. Did the “Dravidians” have “early writings”? Did they have literature at all? We do not know. We do however wonder how the dynamic, self-conscious and clever “Aryans” obviously never compared themselves with the “Dravidians” in order to develop their own “we-consciousness”. There is no reference whatsoever to “Dravidians”, to “two races” or to “race” in any ancient Sanskrit script.

    7] But let’s get back to the original “Aryans” who are supposed to have instigated the whole affair. They were rather simpletons, who ‘were warriors of a youthful group of herdsmen, who did already some farming, but knew nothing of town planning and of fine artistic work’, but nonetheless ‘immigrated through the mountain route of the Northwest into the watershed of Indus and subjugated in continuous fight the prior residents of the north-west corner of India in the 2nd millennium BC’. They just ‘were warriors of a youthful group of herdsmen’. That was it. We wanted to know in which period all these things happened. But there is no concrete evidence. And what about the expansion of this culture up to the utmost southern part of this area? When did it happen? Since the time of Vardhamana, the first Mahavira of the Jainic teaching and Siddhartha Gautama, the later Buddha, the history of India is well documented. There is no evidence of any “Aryan” invasion, occupation and spreading of the culture into the diminished “land of the Dravidians” in the south of India. Apparently this must then have occurred in the period between the 15th and 7th century BC. Why was it not reported in the extensive literature of the “Sanskrit-Aryans”? There is not even the smallest reference.

    Comment by B Shantanu | May 30, 2011

  27. just had to post about what “aman” said earlier. quoting:

    “What we know now is this:
    The white skinned guys in India, came from outside India. Genetic studies confirm this.
    Harappans buried their dead. Since cremation was more a pre-Zoroastrian Persian ritual or a class-specific Greco-Roman ritual, one tends to suppose that the practice came from European influences.
    Avestan Persian is very close to pre-Rigvedic Sanskrit. The genesis is undoubtedly in the area that is modern day Iran.
    Krishna’s son Samb built a temple where the priests were imported from Persia. They’re known as the Maga Brahmins today. Pathak’s trace their ancestry back there. Care to argue with a Pathak? ”

    ok first of all youre completely wrong, pre-rigvedic Sanskrit is older than Avestan persian, thats undisputable fact. the place of genesis is India and not Iran at all. Avestan is derrived from Vedic Sanskrit.

    as for the aryans, if they came from outside india, they must have arrived at least some 15 000 years ago ie pre neolithic times. the dravidians in comparison probably arrived around 40 000 years ago and killed of/replaced the native negritos/australoids.

    Comment by annoyed | June 12, 2011

  28. The ait has been abandoned

    Few sensible scholars will be able to deny that the Indus script was a logo-syllabic script. Facts about the Dholavira signboard. However seals may have been non-linguistic. (a) It is one of the most famous of Harappan inscriptions. (b) It was very large in size. (c) It was located in Far from Mesopotamia Dholavira and in one of the furthest sites from Mesopotamia. (d) It hung over the citadel there. (e) It must have represented the name of the place and must have been closely tied to speech: note the sign repetition. (f) The sign which was used as a determinative was a very common Indus sign. (g) The sign used as a determinative appears to have been also similar to determinatives in other writing systems. (h) The Indus script was also related to Proto-Elamite which means it probably had a linguistic component. (i) The other signs with which the determinative was used were also common Indus signs. (j) Few sensible scholars will now dispute the fact that the Indus script was a logo-syllabic script on the basis of this evidence. (k) Few sensible scholars will deny the fact that speech encoding was one of the major functions of the Indus script and had this feature had reached a very precocious maturity. (l) This inscription was apparently more closely tied to speech than most proto-Elamite inscriptions. (m) Dholavira was not even the most important of sites. (n) The fact that it was hung over the citadel meant it was meant to be read by elites. (o) It was put to the most frivolous use. (p) Speech encoding would have been a prized possession: no one would have used it just for a decorative signboard at far-from-Mesopotamia Dholavira. Why would a man who had inscribed this, done so (a) if nobody else could read it (b) why would he have learnt to encode speech only to inscribe this signboard? This automatically implies the existence of longer texts. It also shows that the Indus elites used more complex forms of communication. (q) Even if we assume that speech-encoding was added in Mature Harappan 3B, this logic would still hold good. (r) This logic is already accepted by mainstream Indus archaeologists as a precursor to the existence of longer texts

    please refer to the book by English archaeologist Jane Macintosh (Mcintosh 2008 p 374) “The Harappans did not create monumental art or architecture on which such inscriptions may have been written. The nearest that the Harappans came to this is the Dholavira signboard which is quite possibly the tip of the iceberg of a now vanished public inscriptions.Farmers arguments fail to account convincingly for the structural regularities that analysis have revealed in the use of Harappan signs. These strongly seem to support the hypothesis that the Indus script represent a writing system”

    Comment by Sujay Rao Mandavilli | June 12, 2011

  29. From Questions pro Aryan Invasion Theorist never answer!, some excerpts:

    ..The purpose of this post is to put the ball on the other side of court starting with a few comments and questions.

    1. If the Aryan invasion happened around 1500 BC starting from central Asia, one group moved West i.e. towards Europe and the other group south finally into India then what evidence is there of the group which went West and populated Europe?

    2. If for a moment we believe that there was a migration of a body of people from central Asia, looking at human evolution and early migration patterns most communities settled around perennial sources of water in tropical or sub tropical areas where the sunshine and water is abundant and weather moderate. One would wonder why would anyone travel west into heavily wooded areas affording less pastures for their grazing animals and extreme cold weather for majority of the year allowing very small window for growing crops. If we look at recent history, Mongols the masters of the steppes only went where their horses could get grazing pastures and avoided heavily wooded areas. If nomadic horse riding Aryan herdsmen were anything like the nomadic Mongol herdsmen then they would probably do the same more so if they were chariot drivers. So my point being that even if there was a migration which is highly unlikely there was no migration west thus Europe never received any people from central Asian at that point in time. So Europeans should stop associating themselves with Aryans or any such race.

    3. Has there been any archeological evidence of chariots from Bronze Age or from the period corresponding to Aryan invasion unearthed in Europe?

    4. With the last Ice Age in the northern hemisphere early human population would naturally gravitate towards warmer climes, i.e. the Middle East and India. At the end of the Ice Age approximately 10,000 years BC with more lands available for occupation in the north precipitated by population pressure on existing land people would have been pushed northwards which probably explains why a lot of European languages have similar words or sounds to Sanskrit and not because of migration the other way around.

    5. If the Vedas were created by the Aryans decidedly in an oral tradition then where are the traces howsoever faint of the Vedas in western civilisation. Has this proof been provided by the other side?

    6. In Bronze Age or later age settlements unearthed in Europe has there been any discovery of the fire altar as per the Vedic tradition. Please bear in mind that the Vedic fire altar is a mathematically precise construction with each brick shaped on precise mathematical calculations?

    7. If the primary Gods of the Aryans were Indra, Varuna and others, coincidence of similar Gods in Norse or Germanic mythology notwithstanding has there been any direct references to these Gods by same name in Europe?

    8. What would inspire continental dwellers to have a name for the God of Sea, Varuna as they live thousands of miles away from the sea?

    9. Lack of horse in Indian sites seems to have been a major point for the invasion theorist, which was proved to be patently false as horse remain have been found all over India since the Pleistocene, approximately 2.5 million years from the current era. Has the other side provided presence of horse in Europe for the period we are discussing? How come Roman and Greek records written starting 8th century BC i.e. 800 years before Christ and Roman war records written starting 5th century BC i.e. 500 years before Christ record battle engagements with northern barbarians i.e. present day Switzerland and Germany etc on foot. Even much after towards the day of the Roman Empire the northern tribes always fought on foot. Popular movies depict northern barbarians to be dressed in animal fur fighting on foot. So where is the evidence of horse in Europe during this period.

    This brings us to recorded history of travellers of antiquity. One such travelogue which has survived the ravages of time is the Indika by Megasthenes which became a reference guide even to later day travellers such as Arrian and Strabo.
    In his description of the people of India he clearly states that they are tall but lightly built (lean) dark skinned with black long hair which they tie in a bun on top of their head and wear turbans with twisted cloth. All men have beards and shaving is not known among the Indians. Nowhere in his entire narration has he alluded to fair skinned Indians either in the North west, North or in the South lording over dark skinned people.
    This description of India goes counter to the AIT theory of large, blue eyed, blonde haired white skinned Aryans lording over dark skinned natives. The description of the people of India by Megasthenes is around 1250 years after the supposed arrival of the Aryans i.e. 1500 BC and given that in the intervening period there was some intermingling of the people causing some of these racial attributes to be diluted but at any rate fair skinned people should have been present in some numbers and complete absence of any such mention in the text is a clear indicator that no such fair skinned invasion or migration of Aryans occurred.

    Thus we should allow the pro Aryan invasion theorist to prove the Aryan invasion of Europe conclusively first rather than prove the invasion of India through retrofitting evidence and sometimes concocted ones.

    Comment by B Shantanu | August 11, 2011

  30. More research debunking the “Invasion Theory” and assertions by Witzel et al:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/70907951/Witzel-s-Claims-Found-Wrong on Witzel’s claims found wrong and

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/68019262/Understanding-Reich-Et-Al-2009 on the work of Reich etc.

    Both the articles are by Sh Premendra Priyadarshi

    Comment by B Shantanu | October 31, 2011

  31. Another data point to support the view that instead of an “invasion”, there may actually have been a “migration” of population out of India.
    From The Genographic Project Confirms Humans Migrated Out of Africa Through Arabia:
    By looking at similarities in patterns of DNA recombination that have been passed on and in disparate populations, Genographic scientists confirm that African populations are the most diverse on Earth, and that the diversity of lineages outside of Africa is a subset of that found on the continent. The divergence of a common genetic history between populations showed that Eurasian groups were more similar to populations from southern India, than they were to those in Africa. This supports a southern route of migration from Africa via the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait in Arabia before any movement heading north, and suggests a special role for south Asia in the “out of Africa” expansion of modern humans.

    Ajay Royyuru, senior manager at IBM’s Computational Biology Center, said: “Over the past six years, we’ve had the opportunity to gather and analyze genetic data around the world at a scale and level of detail that has never been done before. When we started, our goal was to bring science expeditions into the modern era to further a deeper understanding of human roots and diversity. With evidence that the genetic diversity in southern India is closer to Africa than that of Europe, this suggests that other fields of research such as archaeology and anthropology should look for additional evidence on the migration route of early humans to further explore this theory.”

    Comment by B Shantanu | November 2, 2011

  32. Courtesy Dr Kalyanaraman-ji:
    New research debunks aryan invasion theory by Kumar Chellappan
    Chennai Dec. 10, 2011
    “We have conclusively proved that there never existed any aryans or dravidians in the indian sub continent. the aryan-dravidian classification was nothing but a misinformation campaign carried out by people with vested interests,” Prof Lalji Singh, Vice-chancellor, Banaras Hindu University, told DNA.
    …Dr Chaubey had proved in 2009 itself that the aryan invasion theory is bunkum. “that was based on low resolution genetic markers. this time we have used autosomes, which means all major 23 chromosomes, for our studies. the decoding of human genome and other advances in this area help us in unraveling the ancestry in 60,000 years,” he explained.

    However, Gnani Shankaran, noted dravidian thinker, said the time for writing the last word on dravidian philosophy has not yet come. “We have to find out the credentials of the authors of this research paper and their hidden agenda. In Tamil Nadu, the dravidian and aryan ties are inter-related. the dalits in our land are the descendents of the dravidian brahmins who were pushed to the lowest strata of society by the aryans,” shankaran said.

    Original source

    Comment by B Shantanu | December 10, 2011

  33. Genetic evidence now more or less attests to sporadic and sustained migration of humans from india to not only larger eurasia but to east africa. There is compelling evidence that this was accompanied by migration of crop cultivation as well as livestock in its wake. Migrations could have taken place in various waves between the glaical maxima. Some of the evidence infers a human dispersal from the subcontiant almost 15000 bp. Evidence for origin of rice and millet cultivation, and thier intertwined relationship with animal husbandry and rearing of cows, buffalos, pigs etc as well as the migration of accompanying pests (rats) etc are wonderfully presented in this well researched piece by Dr P Priyadarshi


    This work also seems to corroborate the traditional narrative of civilization forming in the east especially along the Ganges and moving further west. This what is indicated by Talageris work on the vedas (though he sticks to conventional linguistic timelines which Dr Narahari Achar rejects as contrary to astronomical observations in the Vedas themselves). If there is ever a possibility of reconciliation of linguistic timelines to much earlier times it would seem that Talageri’s model for dispersion of IE might find reinforcement in what Dr Priyadarshi’s says. After all its much easier to explain language movement as a function of history than the other way round.

    In light of all this I think the time has come to move beyond just refuting AIT or IE migration scenarios and to seriously start consider OIT or other hybrid theory with India as a locus to explain human prehistory, language dispersal and the origin, growth and movement of civilization.

    Comment by Rajiv Chandran | February 3, 2012

  34. From Another nail in the Aryan coffin by Jayakrishnan Nair:
    …Now a new paper published in the American Journal of Human Genetics states that current Indian population is derived from two ancestral populations—the Ancestral North Indians (ANI) and Ancestral South Indians (ASI)—both of which are older than 3500 Years Before Present (YBP). Though this seems to confirm the Aryan-Dravidian divide and the migration which happened after 1900 BCE, the paper actually does the opposite; it refutes the large scale migration version of the Aryan theory.

    One of the ancestral components—the ANI—is common not just in South Asia, but also in West Asia and Caucasus while the ASI is limited to South Asia. While this may seem to clearly demarcate the natives and the foreign migrants, it does not. Except for some Astroasiatic tribes and two small Dravidian tribes in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, all other South Indians have more than 40% of the ANI component. This means that everyone except these few groups are not purely native.

    The important question then is this: When did the ANI mix with the ASI?. If that period is between 1900 BCE and 1500 BCE, then it would confirm the many versions of Aryan theory in existence right now. When these researchers modeled the data, they could not find any evidence of a dramatic Central Asian migration for this period. So they went back and till about 12500 Years Before Present (YBP) they could not find any evidence. Thus the mixing of the ANI and ASI did not happen 140 generations before as was believed, but probably more than 500 generations back (Each generation is 25 years). The paper explicitly mentions Max Muller’s theory and says that it is hard to find evidence for such a migration following the collapse of the Harappan civilization.

    Few years back, researchers working on this project suggested that the ANI emerged 40,000 years back and mixed with the ASI at a later date. So as it stands now, the mixing between the two groups happened some time between 40,000 YBP and 12,500 YBP. So if there is a European component in Indian genes, that event happened much earlier than the decline of the Harappan civilisation and not because of the hypothetical Aryan migration around 1500 BCE.

    Comment by B Shantanu | March 14, 2012

  35. Hi all,
    Interesting debate. I am feeling sorry for myself for being ignorant about this for so long. There are few points I want to make
    1 An idiot had argued that why we are obsessed about something which happened about 5000 years back? WoW! I think we are obsessed about it in the same way as the Brits were about it. They wanted to believe they were superior and now we want to tell the whole world that we are the ones who are superior.
    2 Someone said people of indus valley buried their dead and Vedic guys cremated. Well again this person does not has knowledge about Hindu culture. Many of Hindu’s even now bury their dead.
    3 Lack of horses in indus valley. So what? I dont think that Vedic culture was only present in the boundaries of the so called indus valley. And it is possible that the dead horses were also cremated
    4 Again som one pointed out that there is similarity between the myths of europeans and Vedic people. Well everyone knows that Zeus was plagiarized from Vedas and similarly every other myths have been lifted by the europeans from the oldest civilization on Earth.
    5 Again some said that every body originated form outside India. Most probably he would point that life orginated somewhere in oceans. But if any tries and look into the field of evolutionary biology s/he will find that even at such advancement of knowledge we are far from the truth and people have now trying to come to terms with panspermia theory for evolution. I would give consideration to the fact that Snaskrit was not the language of masses but then it was the language of Devas. The high and mighty lords who lived in the sky (Is it looking similar to ancient astronaut theory?).

    Comment by Prashant | May 8, 2012

  36. sujayrao2000 (signed in using yahoo)

    Please find my two papers below and circulate amongst the skeptics, particularly!

    To state the obvious, the Indus script was a logo-syllabic script and a lost corpus did exist.


    Published in the ICFAI journal of history and culture, January 2011.


    Published in International journal of philosophy and journal sciences , November 2012.

    I am also introducing logo-syllabic thesis B in this paper.

    The paper is very self-explanatory!
    does anybody still beg to differ?

    Sujay Rao Mandavilli.

    Comment by sujay rao mandavilli | November 24, 2012

  37. Thanks to Sh Krishen Kak for these links in response to Justice Katju’s statement that “India is broadly a country of immigrants

    Sh Kak mentions evidence to the contrary:
    http://www.archaeologyonline.net/artifacts/genetics-aryan-debate.html ;
    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2156/7/42 ;
    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=6468762 – see also
    http://folks.co.in/blog/2012/04/18/a-european-look-at-the-aryan-myth/ ;
    http://folks.co.in/blog/2012/12/15/indo-europeans-origins-1-the-200-year-old-question/ ;
    http://folks.co.in/blog/2012/12/18/indo-europeans-2-natural-history-of-languages/ ;

    Comment by B Shantanu | February 15, 2013

  38. I am publishing my sixth research paper directly online as it is an extension of my previous papers. Kindly read pages 4 to 18 as it contains a detailed discussion of the term ‘Aryan’. This paper explains why the Dravidian, Vedic and Paramunda Indus theories are not tenable.


    Methods to reconstruct the languages of the Harappans were presented in the present and previous papers.

    The older papers were written taking the 19th century school of Indology as a base and working backwards. These may appear to be outdated now (at the end of our very long journey). However, the fundamentals are still correct

    Part one


    Part Two very,very important!


    the first 5 papers were published in peer-reviewed journals — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:51, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

    Sujay Rao Mandavilli sujayrao2012@gmail.com

    Comment by Sujay Rao Mandavilli | April 18, 2013

  39. An excerpt from Getting objective about it, by Jayakrishnan Nair, July 27, 2014:

    In January 2009, PBS, a US television network, ran a documentary titled The Story of India….The first episode—Beginnings—discussed one of the most controversial topics in Indian history: the origin of the Aryans.

    In this episode Mr Wood did three things. Standing at Khyber Pass, looking down at the valley of Kabul river, he quoted the translation of a verse from Baudhayana Srautasutra which reads, “some went east..but some stayed at home in the west”. This verse, Wood opined, suggests an Aryan migration from Afghanistan into India.

    Second, he went to Turkmenistan to meet Viktor Sarianidi, the legendary Russian archaeologist, who besides unearthing the Bactrian gold in northern Afghanistan, found horses, wheeled vehicles and mud-brick fire altars in Gonur Tepe, Turkmenistan. According to Dr Sarianidi, the Aryans arrived there around 2000 BC and left in 1800 BC towards Afghanistan.

    Third, Mr Wood mentioned a 1786 discovery by the polyglot Sir William Jones on the similarities between Sanskrit and various European languages, due to which if a Sanskrit speaker mentioned the word ashva, a Lithuanian farmer would know exactly what he meant. All these indicated that the ancestors of the Aryans were part of a language group which spread from the area between Caspian sea and Aral mountains 4000 years ago. As per this theory, these Sanskrit speaking newcomers subjugated the natives—Dravidians and tribals—and established themselves at the top of the caste hierarchy.

    Sounds logical, but Mr Wood’s claims are controvertible. According to B B Lal, who was the director general of the Archaeological Survey of India, the correct translation of Baudhayana Srautasutra says that while some Aryan tribes went east and the others went west from some intermediary point. This intermediary point for Dr Lal is not the valley of the Kabul river, but that of the Indus.

    In a lecture given at the 19th International Conference on South Asian Archaeology in July 2007, Dr Lal analysed Dr Sarianidi’s evidence—fire-worship, soma rituals, ashvamedha—and in the case of fire worship he proved that the direction of movement was from India to Central Asia. He also showed that there was no soma in Gonur Tepe, and the skeleton of the horse was unrelated to asvamedha.

    Now genetic studies too are challenging the Aryan migration theory, the successor of the discredited Aryan invasion theory. Some studies have revealed that Southern castes and tribes are similar to each other and their gene pool is related to the castes of North India. It was not possible to confirm any difference between the caste and tribal pools and find any clean delineation between the Dravidian and Indo-European speakers. Another study compared the genes of Brahmins and tribals and found that they shared the same origins. Also, there was no evidence for a massive migration in the 1500-1200 BC period.

    If so where did the Aryans originate? In the accompanying book, Mr Wood mentions that many Indian scholars and polemicists believe that Aryans were indigenous to India. Gavin Flood, senior lecturer in religious studies at the University of Stirling, Scotland, is neither an Indian nor a polemicist, but in his book Introduction to Hinduism, he mentions the Aryan migration theory, but also the alternate: the cultural transformation thesis. According to this view, the Aryan culture was an indigenous development in the Indus valley, uninfluenced by invaders or migrants. Thus Hinduism evolved with the Aryan culture interacting with non-Aryan and tribal cultures. This cultural transformation thesis works well with the Out of India theory according to which India is the Indo-European homeland from where some groups migrated to Central and West Asia and Europe.

    Comment by B Shantanu | July 27, 2014

  40. Excerpts from INDIANA JONES AND THE TROUBLESOME ARYANS, Posted by Anand Ranganathan | Aug 11, 2014 in Criticles:

    …For more than a century Müller-putras have sold to us a theory that tries to explain who we are. It goes like this: Around 3,500 years ago, a horde of light-skinned warriors called Aryans invaded the upper reaches of Hindoostan only to percolate slowly to the badlands where they accosted the dark-skinned Dravidians. This so-called Aryan Invasion Theory, or AIT, has echoed forever and a day beyond in our history classrooms and we, the children of a coerced conscience, have lapped it up. There is an opinion – not unfounded – that AIT is nothing but magic realism, a coloniser’s fantasy that hymns n’ high culture came galloping down from the civilised world to the barbaric. The natives had to be shown their place. Run along now!

    To her credit, the eminent historian Romila Thapar was among a chosen few to have denounced AIT. “Not only did the invasion not happen, the use of the word Aryan itself is erroneous.” The Aryans were a linguistically similar collection of people and not a race, wrote Prof Thapar. “They didn’t invade India, they migrated to it.”

    Prof Thapar may not believe in the Aryan Invasion Theory – preferring the Aryan Migration option instead – but she has done little to oppose it…

    True, Prof Thapar does not believe in the Aryan Invasion – she has said so publicly. But did she ever believe in it only to adopt later the diluted version? There exists no evidence of this – in her books or in transcripts of her lectures. To be sure, the invasion-migration question is a moot one. Millennia-old human history makes us realise, time and again, that migrations are seldom non-threatening, especially when they happen across populated continents. As Prof Thapar admits in her book Early India: “Some settlements in the north-west and Punjab might have been subjected to raids and skirmishes [by the Aryans], such as are described in the Rig Veda, or for which there appears to be occasional evidence at some site, for example Kot Diji.”
    There are historians who disagree with Prof Thapar’s diluted view of Islamic invasions, and they cite the same sources as she does – Chachnama or Rihla – sources that either describe the invasions or their immediate aftermath. Many also point out – through their writings on the annihilation of Vijayanagara, academic or narrative – that the assimilation of Islam in south India was hardly the “smooth process” Prof Thapar claims it to be.

    History is not Homeopathy – it does not leave an imprint when diluted, it simply disappears.

    The acclaimed historian Ilan Pappé told BBC recently: “Sure, the History I write is influenced by my agenda and ideology, but so what!”

    What, then, is to be done? Are we to reduce History to dining-table fights, at the returning mercy of wildfires – douse one, get ready for the next? Perhaps.

    Perhaps not, with a little help from science. Indian historians may think otherwise but Population Genetics, a discipline still in its infancy has made immense contribution towards corroborating historical details and is as indispensable today as an archaeologist’s coco-bristled hand brush. At its base it is the study of haplogroups, a term meant to indicate a common ancestor traceable because of identical mutations in lineage DNA. These mutations, called Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms or SNPs, accumulate through the passage of time and act as “markers” to identify a specific haplotype. To make sense out of SNPs, one ideally needs a region of genome that doesn’t undergo recombination. Mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA, is one such region as is also the Y chromosome, passed down from father to son. Mitochondrial DNA does not recombine, only gathers mutations along the evolutionary timeline. Remarkably, the human egg is genetically programmed to tag any incoming sperm mitochondria with a “death-tag” protein called ubiquitin, thereby assuring its destruction. All mitochondria, therefore, are inherited exclusively from the mother’s side; the further away in time they are the more SNP mutational differences there will be. Indeed, using a calibrated molecular clock, i.e. a verifiable tool to calculate the mutational rate, one can estimate the age of divergence or coalescence (merging). To understand how population genetics has helped solve the Aryan question it is worth recounting some of its monumental discoveries beginning with, well, the beginning.
    To return now to the question of the troublesome Aryans, Prof Thapar believes Aryan Migration happened around the time of the Rig Veda that, she concurs, resembles the Iranian sacred text Avesta – dated 1400 BC. The Iranians split into two groups one of which – the Indo-Aryans – migrated eastwards and reached India. Upon reaching India they penned the Rig Veda, a facsimile of Avesta except for a bizarre reversal of subject matter – the Avesta Gods became Rig Veda demons and vice-versa. The migration of peoples was also accompanied by migration of names and places. “The Harahvati becomes Sarasvati, quite a distance away from Afghanistan to Punjab. The Harayu becomes Sarayu from Afghanistan to UP.”

    In her book, Early India, Prof Thapar accepts the theory that “Indo-Aryan speakers gradually migrated from Indo-Iranian borderlands and Afghanistan to northern India where they introduced the language. The migrations were generally not disruptive of settlements and cultures [no citation provided]”…“[The immigrants] were dissident groups that had broken away from the speakers of Old Iranian, whose language and ideas came to be encapsulated in the Avesta.”

    Clearly, Prof Thapar is of the view that the migration happened after Avesta, i.e. around 1400 BC or 3,500 years ago. Unfortunately for her, science knows otherwise.

    In a remarkable 2009 study published in the journal Nature, scientists were able to show that Indians can lay a worthy claim to two ancestral groups – Ancestral North Indians, ANI, and Ancestral South Indians, ASI. The ANI, Singh and co-workers discovered, were genetically close to Central Europeans or Eurasians. Interestingly, the Andaman tribe Onge were found to possess no ANI ancestry of any kind. In fact, Singh and co-workers were the first to study the origin of the Andaman and Nicobar people. The Onge, they revealed, have evolved quite independently from other human populations, untouched since their ancestors migrated from Africa 50-70,000 years ago. These findings have since been corroborated by several research groups worldwide. ANI indeed possesses a higher component of European ancestry compared to ASI even as the two groups share common genetic variants. Another extended study, that analysed as many as 1.4 million ANI and 1.6 million ASI SNPs, also reached the same conclusion, of a gene-flow from Europe to north India.

    But it was the publication in 2011 of a path-breaking study that ultimately sealed the fate of the Aryan Invasion or Migration theory. Analysing 600,000 SNPs from as many as 30 ethnic groups – thereby extending the 2009 Nature ANI study through the inclusion of more European samples – Toomas Kivisild and co-workers discovered that both components of Indian ancestry, ANI and ASI, predate the Aryan Migration event by at least 9000 years. This was because the so-called k5 component, that bestows ancestry to South Asians, was found to contain no regional diversity differences; its spread across the Indian subcontinent must have happened well before 12,500 years ago (the detection limit) and not through a recent gene-flow event. In 2013 Singh and co-workers extended the Kivisild study with some acute observations, namely that the ANI and ASI populations mixed robustly between 1900 to 4200 years ago and that these two groups didn’t mix either before or after this window. The authors, by analysing genomes of 571 individuals representing 73 ethno-linguistic groups, also ruled out Eurasian gene flow during this time period, concurring with the finding of another study that such an event could not have happened before 12,500 years. Moreover, argued the scientists, 3500 years ago India was a already a densely populated region with well-established agricultural practices and therefore the Eurasian migration would have had to be immense in order to explain the fact that half the Indian population is derived from ANI. The Aryan Migration event of 1500 BCE has also been questioned based on an authoritative haplogroup U linkage study wherein scientists found an extensive and deep late-Pleistocene link between Indians and Europeans, suggesting a coalescence near the time when Asia was initially being peopled. The migration that led to the Indo-Eurasian stock, according to these scientists, happened not 3,500 years ago but rather 12,500 years or earlier. Another study, this time involving Y-DNA haplotyping, rules out substantial gene-flow from Europe to Asia at least since the mid-Holocene period, i.e. the last 6,500 years. It has also been shown that the gateway to the subcontinent, the Hindu Kush – where the earliest archaeological evidence of human remains dates back to 26,500 years before the Rig Veda – was a confluence of gene-flows in the early Neolithic period as opposed to an indigenous population.

    There is one other way to corroborate that Eurasian migration happened much before the time-point vouched for by AMT proponents – skin colour. It has long been known that a single mutation, rs1426654, in the human pigmentation gene SLC24A5 accounts for the lighter skin tone of Europeans. A year ago, scientists discovered that an allele of the rs1426654 mutation was shared among many South Asian and Western Eurasian populations. The coalescence was calculated to be 22000-28000 years ago, with the frequency of occurrence of this mutation – called the allele frequency – found to be significantly higher in the ANI compared to the ASI.

    The verdict of population genetics is clear, and profound, as pointed out subsequently by the lead author of the Nature study Dr Lalji Singh himself: “There is no genetic evidence that Indo-Aryans invaded or migrated to India. It is high time we re-write India’s prehistory based on scientific evidence.”

    Prof Thapar, though, is dismissive of the overwhelming scientific evidence that negates the Aryan Migration event.

    The force of science is brute yet unassuming. Yes, Galileo had to apologise but he must have done so with a smirk. Popular opinion matters little when the thrill of eureka has already been consumed and relished by the discoverer. One learns to move on. In the 1950s, two theories that explained to us the universe – the Steady State and the Big Bang – garnered equal wrestling time. But then over the ensuing decades it was the Big Bang that came through unscathed, with the result that only those who had a hand in proposing the Steady State now believe in it.

    Time waits for no one, least of all junked theories. Scientists, having pointed out that the Müllerian Aryan Invasion – or the Romilian Aryan Migration – never happened, have returned to their garages. Historians are still at the dining table. C’est la vie.
    Some excerpts from the comments:
    Nice to see a trained scientist (geneticist?) putting together a comprehensive and comprehensible case.

    There is also a lot of literature on
    1. the drying up of the Saraswati (Michel Danino),
    2. a philology-based rebuttal to AIT high priest Michael Witzel by Shrikant Talageri,
    3. the work by Koenraad Elst,
    4. and the Frawley Paradox – An illiterate Aryan civilization with huge amount of oral literature that survives to this day and a literate urban Indus people who leave no literary records.

    Professor Thapar is equivocal about AIT/AMT (1500 B.C version) as late as 1999.
    Gopi Maliwal: But there is not even one line in vast Sanskrit literature and/or works of so many travelers about any such invasion / conquest. Every place – terrain, rivers, mountains, places – our classics mention are all within Greater India. Whereas Parsis, Jews, Christians and Muslims – to take 4 prominent groups – never forgot where they came from or (in case of last 3) their holy places or books even after lapse of 1500 to 2000 years. So, why only these so-called Aryans will forget – completely – about theirs?

    Gopi Maliwal:
    “burden of evidence (for AIT) lies with its proponents…”
    exactly… many of us have been saying this for 2+ decades…. let those who proclaim this theory without basis in facts produce the REAL proof, not conjecture… because there is not one line in any work – Indian or foreign – about a supposedly civilization-changing invasion (or immigration) until British Colonialism’s intellectual sepoys sprang it upon us out of their tricky hat…
    Swami Vivekanand asked : What your European Pundits say about the Aryan’s swooping down from some foreign land, snatching away the lands of the aborigines and settling in India by exterminating them, is all pure non-sense foolish talk! Strange, that our Indian scholars too, say amen to them, all these monstrous lies are being taught to our boys! This is very bad indeed.
    In what Veda, what Sukta, do you find that the Aryans came to India from a foreign country? Where do you get the idea that they slaughtered aborigines? What do you gain by talking such nonsense?

    Comment by B Shantanu | August 12, 2014

  41. Somewhat related excerpts from: Pakistanis are basically Hindus, Pakistani lady scholar admits by Ram Kumar Ohri, 28 September 2015:

    In a landmark confession of truth…Fauzia Syed, declared during a discussion on a television channel that all Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslims are essentially Hindus, and that in rare cases, they might be Buddhists.

    The lady activist lamented that a lot of Muslims, mainly Pakistani and Bangladeshi, have a hard time accepting the fact that their ancestors were Hindus who were converted by force of sword to Islam. The gutsy lady said this in a live television show while responding to the argument of radical Pakistani Muslim preacher Zaid Hamid.

    Comment by B Shantanu | January 18, 2016

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