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.
- 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?
- 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.
- Rigvedic Aryans knew gold, silver and copper whereas Indus Valley people knew only copper and iron.
- 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.