– by David Frawley
My classes on Indian culture have often put to doubt the famous “Aryan invasion” theory. My own observations of its use today by Indians to justify just about anything (superiority of fair people, caste system, North vs. South, superiority of Dravidian culture… and so on) have also brought me to cast on it a very critical eye.
Here is my account of Frawley’s article – maybe not the best nor the last writing on the subject, but nevertheless interesting and convincing.
Frawley’s very well-documented article demonstrates that there was no Aryan invasion. The author assures us that this theory is widely questioned in the academic world, and that even scholars who still accept an outside origin for the Vedic people reject the destructive invasion theory to the advantage of migration, diffusion or mixing with indigenous people.
Frawley shows how recent archeological findings and a precise reading of Vedic texts invalidate each argument usually accepted to justify the invasion. He also states that the Aryan invasion theory is an example of European colonialism turned into an historical model – and explains how facts and discoveries were molded to fit the “invasion” theory.
The theory of Aryan invasion appears for the first time in the works of nineteenth century European scholars. It has been used to present India’s history as one of successive and incessant invasions from the West.
It leaves little of the population or culture of the subcontinent to indigenous India itself, the “initial” Aryan invaders having supposedly imposed their language (sanskrit) and culture (the Veda) after destroying the pre-existing (indigenous) civilization.
Frawley stresses the point that this theory contributes to belittle Indian culture, by bringing the main line of civilization back into the Middle East. As he says: “It makes Hindus feel that their culture is not the great thing that their sages and ancestors said it was. It causes them to be ashamed of their culture – that its basis is neither historical nor scientific but only imaginary, while being actually rooted in invasion and oppression.” He also regrets that Hindu scholars are so accepting of this theory.
Interestingly, the basis for the invasion theory was not even in archeological evidence but in linguistic speculation (the famous search for a homeland to the original Indo-European language).
But to this day, there is no archeological, literary or linguistic evidence that there actually was an invasion. Many sites belonging to the same so-called pre-Aryan culture of Mohenjodaro and Harrappa were discovered where the Sarasvati river used to lie. Her drying up brought the end of this urban civilization with the shift of its population to more fertile grounds.
Now, if you want more, David Frawley has written a book on the subject (yes, a whole book!): Gods, Sages and Kings: Vedic Light on Ancient Civilization.
- Aryan Invasion [en] (2001)
- Linguistic Superiority [en] (2001)
- Most People Are Multilingual [en] (2007)
- India [en] (2000)
- Books [en] (2001)
- India, Pakistan, and History [en] (2002)
- Lift11: Ben Hammersley, Post-digital geopolitics [en] (2011)
- India [en] (2000)
- Indian Stretchable Time [en] (2011)
- Another Multilingual Talk Proposal (Web 2.0 Expo, Berlin) [en] (2007)
2 thoughts on “The Myth of The Aryan Invasion of India [en]”
Brilliant!!!! Finally someone put a nail in the coffine of Aryan Invasion theory…Its a big lie propagted by British to take control of India which was deeply religious when they came at India….
M. Guru, Dr. R.H. eing Peters, once said, the best way to look at electrons and other sub-atomic particles, was to see them under Electron microscope.
But what you ‘see’, actually depends upon your denomination. If you are a Buddhist, you see Buddha, If you are a Christian, you see, Jesus Christ. We seem to be suffering the same fate on this Aryan Invasion Business. Each one grinding their own axe. Dr. Frawley, labours under a anti-British, anti-christian bias, intead of being objective. Rigveda, itself states, there were other people, who were dark skinned, flat nosed and spoke a broken language, and lived in citadels, which they themselves called PURA.
one needs to explain, why Rigveda was unaware of River Ganga. the natural explanation is, they never travelled that far. To name Dravidians a an early off-shoot of Aryan, is a travesty of facts. Why this early ‘Off-shoot’, speak languages, totally different from Indo-Germanic languages? Why are they
anthropologically different? Why Lithuaqnianians are more similar in their anthropology and Language to those in Punjab and Kashmir, than thoe in the Peninula? Why is it animals indigenous to India, like the Elephant to do not have a unique name in Sanskrit, rather than saying ‘animal with a Hand’ ?
Why the various Sanskrit ritualistic Mantras, even today speak of YAVA (Barley), and TANDULA (Rice) does not even find a mention. Tese are paradoxes, which we need to anwer. While I do not support Max Muller and others, I do not agree, the last word has yet been said about the subject. Let us hold our breath, until the language on the seals foun in Harappa/Mohenjodaro are decoded.