Monday, August 8, 2011

Aryan Invasion Theory has no basis.




Given below is an article debunking Aryan Invasion Theory. Only parts of the article which I agree with are posted below. The full article can be read in the link

The author makes a significant statement that the Ithihasas and not the Rig Vedas -must be analysed because only they talk about past events of Bharat. That was what was being continuously done in this country for all times in the past. The Colonial scholars vitiated such a trend and had taken the scholarship backwards. Atleast now let them study the Ithihasas and know the history of not only Bharath but of mankind itself. I am happy that I am already working on that direction and writing my analysis in Tamil. I would write it in English after I finish the series in Tamil which is likely to consist of 100 articles. At the moment I am working on the 67th article which will identify the Manushya bhasha (Human language) spoken by Hanuman and Sita in Ashoka vana as described in Valmiki Ramayana. 

From Mahabharatha we will know that the Indus culture is post -Mahabharatha culture. Infact the Indus settlements were those of the people of Dwaraka who were forced to abandon Dwaraka when it was inundated after the exist of Krishna. 

The following picture shows the route taken by Arjuna who led the Dwarakans in their search for locations to settle down after they left Dwaraka. This route is derived on the basis of the descriptions in given in Musala parva in Mahabharatha. We can see the route going through the areas of Indus settlements.




The article describing this route can be read here:

-Jayasree


****************

From

Questioning the Aryan Invasion Theory and Revising Ancient Indian History
By
Klaus Klostermaier


Debunking the Aryan Invasion Theory: The New Chronology

Contemporary Indian scholars, admittedly motivated not only by academic interests, vehemently reject what they call the 'colonial-missionary Aryan invasion theory'. They accuse its originators of superimposing-for a reason-the purpose and process of the colonial conquest of India by the Western powers in modern times onto the beginnings of Indian civilisation: as the Europeans came to India as bearers of a supposedly superior civilisation and a higher religion, so the original Aryans were assumed to have invaded a country on which they imposed their culture and their religion.

A recent major work offers 'seventeen arguments: why the Aryan invasion never happened'.6 It may be worthwhile summarising and analysing them briefly:

  1. The Aryan invasion model is largely based on linguistic conjectures which are unjustified (and wrong). Languages develop much more slowly than assumed by nineteenth century scholars. According to Renfrew speakers of Indo-European languages may have lived in Anatolia as early as 7000 BCE

  1. The supposed large-scale migrations of Aryan people in the second millennium BCE first into Western Asia and then into northern India (by 1500 BCE) cannot be maintained in view of the fact that the Hittites were in Anatolia already by 2200 BCE and the Kassites and Mitanni had kings and dynasties by 1600 BCE

  1. There is no memory of an invasion or of large-scale migration in the records of Ancient India-neither in the Vedas, Buddhist or Jain writings, nor in Tamil literature. The fauna and flora, the geography and the climate described in the Rigveda are that of Northern India.

  1. There is a striking cultural continuity between the archaeological artefacts of the Indus-Saraswati civilisation and subsequent Indian society and culture: a continuity of religious ideas, arts, crafts, architecture, system of weights and measures.

  1. The archaeological finds of Mehrgarh (copper, cattle, barley) reveal a culture similar to that of the Vedic Indians. Contrary to former interpretations, the Rigveda shows not a nomadic but an urban culture (purusa as derived from pur vasa = town-dweller).


  1. The Aryan invasion theory was based on the assumption that a nomadic people in possession of horses and chariots defeated an urban civilisation that did not know horses, and that horses are depicted only from the middle of the second millennium onwards. Meanwhile archaeological evidence for horses has been found in Harappan and pre-Harappan sites; drawings of horses have been found in paleolithic caves in India; drawings of riders on horses dated c. 4300 BCE have been found in Ukraina. Horsedrawn war chariots are not typical for nomadic breeders but for urban civilisations.

  1. The racial diversity found in skeletons in the cities of the Indus civilisation is the same as in India today; there is no evidence of the coming of a new race.

  1. The Rigveda describes a river system in North India that is pre-1900 BCE in the case of the Saraswati river, and pre-2600 BCE in the case of the Drishadvati river. Vedic literature shows a population shift from the Saraswati (Rigveda) to the Ganges (Brahmanas and Puranas), also evidenced by archaeological finds.

  1. The astronomical references in the Rigveda are based on a Pleiades-Krittika (Taurean) calendar of c. 2500 BCE when Vedic astronomy and mathematics were well-developed sciences (again, not a feature of a nomadic people).

  1. The Indus cities were not destroyed by invaders but deserted by their inhabitants because of desertification of the area. Strabo (Geography XV.1.19) reports that Aristobulos had seen thousands of villages and towns deserted because the Indus had changed its course.

  1. The battles described in the Rigveda were not fought between invaders and natives but between people belonging to the same culture.

  1. Excavations in Dwaraka have lead to the discovery of a site larger than Mohenjodaro, dated c. 1500 BCE with architectural structures, use of iron, a script halfway between Harappan and Brahmi. Dwarka has been associated with Krishna and the end of the Vedic period.

  1. A continuity in the morphology of scripts: Harappan, Brahmi, Devanagari.

  1. Vedic ayas, formerly translated as 'iron,' probably meant copper or bronze. Iron was found in India before 1500 BCE in Kashmir and Dwaraka.

  1. The Puranic dynastic lists with over 120 kings in one Vedic dynasty alone, fit well into the 'new chronology'. They date back to the third millennium BCE Greek accounts tell of Indian royal lists going back to the seventh millennium BCE.

  1. The Rigveda itself shows an advanced and sophisticated culture, the product of a long development, 'a civilisation that could not have been delivered to India on horseback' (p.160).

  1. Painted Gray Ware culture in the western Gangetic plains, dated ca 1100 BCE has been found connected to (earlier) Black and Red Ware etc.

Let us consider some of these arguments in some detail. As often remarked, there is no hint in the Veda of a migration of the people that considered it its own sacred tradition. It would be strange indeed if the Vedic Indians had lost all recollection of such a momentous event in supposedly relatively recent times- much more recent, for instance, than the migration of Abraham and his people which is well attested and frequently referred to in the Bible. In addition, as has been established recently through satellite photography and geological investigations, the Saraswati, the mightiest river known to the Rigvedic Indians, along whose banks they established numerous major settlements, had dried out completely by 1900 BCE-four centuries before the Aryans were supposed to have invaded India. One can hardly argue for the establishment of Aryan villages along a dry river bed.

When the first remnants of the ruins of the so-called Indus civilisation came to light in the early part of our century, the proponents of the Aryan invasion theory believed they had found the missing archaeological evidence: here were the 'mighty forts' and the 'great cities' which the war-like Indra of the Rigveda was said to have conquered and destroyed. Then it emerged that nobody had destroyed these cities and no evidence of wars of conquest came to light: floods and droughts had made it impossible to sustain large populations in the area and the people of Mohenjo Daro, Harappa and other places had migrated to more hospitable areas. Ongoing archaeological research has not only extended the area of the Indus-civilisation but has also shown a transition of its later phases to the Gangetic culture. Archeo-geographers have established that a drought lasting two to three hundred years devastated a wide belt of land from Anatolia through Mesopotamia to Northern India around 2300 BCE to 2000 BCE.

Based on this type of evidence and extrapolating from the Vedic texts, a new story of the origins of Hinduism is emerging that reflects the self-consciousness of Hindus and which attempts to replace the 'colonial-missionary Aryan invasion theory' by a vision of 'India as the Cradle of Civilisation.' This new theory considers the Indus-civilisation as a late Vedic phenomenon and pushes the (inner-Indian) beginnings of the Vedic age back by several thousands of years. One of the reasons for considering the Indus civilisation 'Vedic' is the evidence of town-planning and architectural design that required a fairly advanced algebraic geometry-of the type preserved in the Vedic Shulvasutras. The widely respected historian of mathematics A. Seidenberg came to the conclusion, after studying the geometry used in building the Egyptian pyramids and the Mesopotamian citadels, that it reflected a derivative geometry-a geometry derived from the Vedic Shulva-sutras. If that is so, then the knowledge ('Veda') on which the construction of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro is based, cannot be later than that civilisation itself.7

While the Rigveda has always been held to be the oldest literary document of India and was considered to have preserved the oldest form of Sanskrit, Indians have not taken it to be the source for their early history. The Itihasa-Purana served that purpose. The language of these works is more recent than that of the Vedas and the time of their final redaction is much later than the fixation of the Vedic canon. However, they contain detailed information about ancient events and personalities that form part of Indian history. The Ancients, like Herodotus, the father of Greek histo-riography, did not separate story from history. Nor did they question their sources but tended to juxtapose various pieces of evidence without critically sifting it. Thus we cannot read Itihasa-Purana as the equivalent of a modern textbook of Indian history but rather as a storybook containing information with interpretation, facts and fiction. Indians, however, always took genealogies quite seriously and we can presume that the Puranic lists of dynasties, like the lists of paramparas in the Upanishads relate the names of real rulers in the correct sequence. On these assumptions we can tentatively reconstruct Indian history to a time around 4500 BCE.

A key element in the revision of Ancient Indian History was the recent discovery of Mehrgarh, a settlement in the Hindukush area, that was continuously inhabited for several thousand years from c. 7000 BCE onwards. This discovery has extended Indian history for several thousands of years before the fairly well dateable Indus civilisation.8

 Old verses new? Or scientists verses philologists?
We are left, at present, with two widely differing versions of Ancient Indian History, with two radically divergent sets of chronology and with a great deal of polemic from both sides. Those who defend the Aryan invasion theory and the chronology associated with it accuse the proponents of the 'New Chronology' of indulging in Hindu chauvinism. The latter suspect the former of entertaining 'colonial-missionary' prejudices and denying originality to the indigenous Indians. The new element that has entered the debate is scientific investigations. While the older theory rested on exclusively philological arguments, the new theory includes astronomical, geological, mathematical and archaeological evidence. On the whole, the latter seems to rest on better foundations. Not only were the philological arguments from the very beginning based more on strong assertions and bold guesses, civilisations both ancient and contemporary comprise more than literature alone. In addition, purely philologically trained scholars-namely grammarians-are not able to make sense of technical language and of scientific information contained even in the texts they study.

Consider today's scientific literature. It abounds with Greek and Latin technical terms, it contains an abundance of formulae composed of Greek and Hebrew letters. If scholars with a background in the classical languages were to read such works, they might be able to come up with some acceptable translations of technical terms into modern English but they would hardly be able to really make sense of most of what they read and they certainly would not extract the information which the authors of these works wished to convey to people trained in their specialities. The situation is not too different with regard to ancient Indian texts. The admission of some of the best scholars (like Geldner, who in his translation of the Rigveda, considered the best so far, declares many passages 'darker than the darkest oracle' or Gonda, who considered the Rigveda basically untranslatable) of being unable to make sense of a great many texts-and the refusal of most to go beyond a grammatical and etymological analysis of these-indicates a deeper problem. The Ancients were not only poets and litterateurs, but they also had their sciences and their technical skills, their secrets and their conventions that are not self-evident to someone not sharing their world. Some progress has been made in deciphering medical and astronomical literature of a later age, in reading architectural and arts-related materials. However, much of the technical meaning of the oldest Vedic literature still eludes us.

The Rigveda-a code?
The computer scientist and Indologist Subhash Kak believes he has rediscovered the 'Vedic Code' which allows him to extract from the structure, as well as the words and sentences of the Rigveda, and the considerable astronomical information which its authors supposedly embedded in it.10 The assumption of such encoded scientific knowledge would make it understandable why there was such insistence on the preservation of every letter of the text in precisely the sequence the original author had set down. One can take certain liberties with a story, or even a poem, changing words, transposing lines, adding explanatory matter, shortening it, if necessary, and still communicate the intentions and ideas of the author. However, one has to remember and reproduce a scientific formula in precisely the same way it has been set down by the scientist or it would not make sense at all. While the scientific community can arbitrarily adopt certain letter equivalents for physical units or processes, once it has agreed on their use, one must obey the conventions for the sake of meaningful communication.

Even a non-specialist reader of ancient Indian literature will notice the effort to link macrocosm and microcosm, astronomical and physiological processes, to find correspondences between the various realms of beings and to order the universe by establishing broad classifications. Vedic sacrifices-the central act of Vedic culture- were to be offered on precisely built geometrically constructed altars and to be performed at astronomically exactly established times. It sounds plausible to expect a correlation between the numbers of bricks prescribed for a particular altar and the distances between stars observed whose movement determined the time of the offerings to be made. Subhash Kak has advanced a great deal of fascinating detail in that connection in his essays on the 'Astronomy of the Vedic Altar'. He believes that while the Vedic Indians possessed extensive astronomical knowledge, which they encoded in the text of the Rigveda, the code was lost in later times and the Vedic tradition was interrupted.11

India, the cradle of (world-) civilisation?
Based on the early dating of the Rigveda (c. 4000 BCE) and on the strength of the argument that Vedic astronomy and geometry predates that of the other known Ancient civilisations, some scholars, like N.S. Rajaram, George Feuerstein, Subhash Kak and David Frawley, have made the daring suggestion that India was the 'cradle of civilisation'. They link the recently discovered early European civilisation (which predates Ancient Sumeria and Ancient Egypt by over a millennium) to waves of populations moving out or driven out from north-west India. Later migrations, caused either by climatic changes or by military events, would have brought the Hittites to Western Asia, the Iranians to Afghanistan and Iran and many others to other parts of Eurasia. Such a scenario would require a complete rewriting of Ancient World History-especially if we add the claims, apparently substantiated by some material evidence, that Vedic Indians had established trade links with Central America and Eastern Africa before 2500 BCE. It is no wonder that the 'New Chronology' arouses not only scholarly controversy but emotional excitement as well. Much more hard evidence will be required to fully establish it, and many claims may have to be withdrawn. But there is no doubt that the 'old chronology' has been discredited and that much surprise is in store for the students not only of Ancient India, but also of the Ancient World as a whole.

Sorting out the questions:
The 'Revision of Ancient Indian History' responds to several separate, but interlocking questions that are often confused.

  1. The (emotionally) most important question is that of the original home of Vedic civilisation, identified with the question: where was the (Rig-)Veda composed? India's indigenous answer to that question had always been 'India', more precisely 'the Punjab'. The European, 'colonial missionary' assumption, was 'outside India'.

  1. The next question, not often explicitly asked, is: where did the pre-Vedic people, the 'Aryans' come from? This is a problem for archeo-anthropologists rather than for historians. The racial history of India shows influences from many quarters.

  1. A related, but separate question concerns the 'cradle of civilisation', to which several ancient cultures have laid claim: Sumeria, Egypt, India (possibly also China could be mentioned, which considered itself for a long time the only truly civilised country). Depending on what answer we receive, the major expansion of population/civilisation would be from west to east, or from east to west. The famous lux ex oriente has often been applied to the spread of culture in the ancient world. India was as far as the 'Orient' would go.

  1. It is rather strange that the defenders of the 'Aryan invasion theory', who have neither archaeological nor literary documents to prove their assumption, demand detailed proof for the non-invasion and refuse to admit the evidence available. Similarly, they feel entitled to declare 'mythical' whatever the sources (Rigveda, Puranas) say that does not agree with their preconceived notions of Vedic India.

Some conclusions:
If I were to judge the strength of the arguments for revising Ancient Indian History in the direction of 'India as Cradle of Civilisation' I would rate Seidenberg's findings concerning the Shulvasutra geometry (applied in the Indus civilisation; Babylonian and Egyptian geometry derivative to it) highest. Next would be the archeo-astronomical determination of astronomical data in Vedic and post-Vedic texts. Third is the satellite photography based dating of the drying out of the Saraswati and the archeo-geographical finding of a centuries long drought in the belt reaching from Anatolia through Mesopotamia and Northern India. Geological research has uncovered major tectonic changes in the Punjab and the foothills of the Himalayas. At one point a section rose about sixty metres within the past 2 000 years.

'Vasishta's Head', a bronze head found near Delhi, was dated through radio-carbon testing to around 3700 BCE- the time when, according to Hicks and Anderson, the Battle of the Ten Kings took place (Vasishta, mentioned in the Rigveda, was the advisor to King Sudas). A further factor speaking for the 'Vedic' character of the Indus civilisation is the occurrence of (Vedic) altars in many sites. Fairly important is also the absence of a memory of a migration from outside India in all of ancient Indian literature: the Veda, the Brahmanas, the Epics and the Puranas. Granting that the Vedic Samhitas were ritual manuals rather than historic records, further progress in revising Ancient Indian History could be expected from a study of Itihasa-Purana, rather than from an analysis of the Rigveda (by way of parallel, what kind of reconstruction of Ancient Israel's History could be done on the basis of a study of the Psalms, leaving out Genesis and Kings? Or what reconstruction of European History could be based on a study of the earliest Rituale Romanum?)

3 comments:

Ever Reese said...

No mention of evidence of early migration from Africa, to India, from India to the now Middle East? Why?

Ever Reese said...

Question! Is there a African-Indian Connection?

jayasree said...

@ Ever Reese,

If you read Tamil, read my posts in
http://thamizhan-thiravidana.blogspot.com/

Or search my blog for various other articles on AIT

Or/ and browse this link on Stephen Oppenheimer's findings based on genetics on Afro- Indian connection.
http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/journey/