Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

Back in news: Aryan Invasion Theory


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Indus valley civilization and its decline

Mains level: Aryan Invasion Theory

The 2022 calendar of the IIT, Kharagpur on the theme of “evidence” for “rebutting the Aryan invasion myth” has caused controversy.

What is the Aryan Invasion Theory?

  • It has always been understood that the Aryans migration from the Steppe happened after 2000 BCE.
  • In 1953 Mortimer Wheeler proposed that the invasion of an Indo-European tribe from Central Asia, the “Aryans”, caused the decline of the Indus Civilization.
  • As evidence, he cited a group of 37 skeletons found in various parts of Mohenjo-daro, and passages in the Vedas referring to battles and forts.
  • However, scholars soon started to reject Wheeler’s theory, since the skeletons belonged to a period after the city’s abandonment and none were found near the citadel.

Basis of this theory

  • This was first propounded when linguistic similarities between Sanskrit and the major European languages were discovered by European scholars during the colonial era.
  • This tool was used by the colonizers to legitimize their rule in India.
  • The theory hypothesizes that during 2000BC Aryans from Europe invaded or migrated into the Asian subcontinent.
  • It states these ‘invaders’ killed the original Dravidians and set up the Aryan race in the South-Asian subcontinent.
  • The Aryan Invasion Theory claimed that these ‘invaders’ were the root of modern Indian civilization, not the Harappan civilization.

Its rebuttal

  • Recent studies have debunked the theory after DNA samples from 5000-year old Harappan remains were proven to be similar to modern Indians’ DNA as part of the Rakhigarhi Project.

Who were the Harappans then?

  • The Harappans who created the agricultural revolution in northwestern India and then built the Harappan civilization were a mix of First Indians and Iranians who spoke a pre-Arya language.
  • The Arya were central Asian Steppe pastoralists who arrived in India between roughly 2000 BCE and 1500 BCE, and brought Indo-European languages to the subcontinent.
  • The new study says the Iranians arrived in India before agriculture or even herding had begun anywhere in the world.
  • In other words, these migrants were likely to have been hunter-gatherers, which means they did not bring a knowledge of agriculture.

Try this PYQ:

Q With reference to the difference between the culture of Rigvedic Aryans and Indus Valley people, which of the following statements correct?

  1. Rigvedic Aryans used the coat of mail and helmet in warfare whereas the people of Indus Valley Civilization did not leave any evidence of using them.
  2. Rigvedic Aryans knew gold, silver and copper whereas Indus Valley people knew only copper and iron.
  3. Rigvedic Aryans had domesticated the horse whereas there is no evidence of Indus Valley people having been aware of this animal.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) Only 1

(c) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


Post your answers here.
Please leave a feedback on thisx



UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
User Avatar
2 years ago
Post your answers here." Read more »


User Avatar
2 years ago
Post your answers here." Read more »


User Avatar
Post your answers here." Read more »


User Avatar
2 years ago
Post your answers here." Read more »


User Avatar
2 years ago
Post your answers here." Read more »


User Avatar
2 years ago
Post your answers here." Read more »



Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch