(Continued from page 3)
the Vedic people (the so-called Aryans), accepts the theory in its classical form of
the violent invasion and destruction of the Harappan cities by the incoming Aryans.
Four main points have emerged, which this article will elaborate:
|The main center of Harappan civilization is the newly rediscovered Sarasvati river of
Vedic fame. While the Indus river has about three dozen important Harappan sites, the
Sarasvati has over five hundred. The drying up of the Sarasvati brought about the end of
the Harappan civilization around 1900 BC. As the Vedas know of this river they cannot be
later than the terminal point for the river or different than the Harappans who flourished
on its banks. Harappan culture should be renamed "the Sarasvati culture" and the
Vedic culture must have been in India long before 2000 BC.|
|No evidence of any significant invading populations have been found in ancient India,
nor have any destroyed cities or massacred peoples been unearthed. The so-called massacre
of Mohenjodaro that Wheeler, an early excavator of the site claimed to find, has been
found to be only a case of imagination gone wild. The sites were abandoned along with the
ecological changes that resulted in the drying up of the Sarasvati.|
|So-called Aryan cultural traits like horses, iron, cattle-rearing or fire worship have
been found to be either indigenous developments (like iron) or to have existed in Harappan
and pre-Harappan sites (like horses and fire worship). No special Aryan culture in ancient
India can be differentiated apart from the indigenous culture.|
|A more critical reading of Vedic texts reveals that Harappan civilization, the largest
of the ancient world, finds itself reflected in Vedic literature, the largest literature
of the ancient world.(*1) Vedic literature was previously not
related to any significant civilization but merely to "the destruction of
Harappa." How the largest literature of the ancient world was produced by illiterate
nomadic peoples as they destroyed one of the great civilizations of the ancient world is
one of the absurdities that the Aryan invasion leads to, particularly when the urban
literate Harappans are not given any literature of their own remaining. |
Putting these points together we now see that the Vedas show the same development of
culture, agriculture and arts and crafts as Harappan and pre-Harappan culture. Vedic
culture is located in the same region as the Harappan, north India centered on the
Sarasvati river. The abandonment of the invasion theory solves the literary riddle.
Putting together Vedic literature, the largest of the ancient world, with the Harappan
civilization, the largest of the ancient world, a picture emerges of ancient India as the
largest civilization of the ancient world with the largest and best preserved literature,
a far more logical view, and one that shows India as a consistent center from which
civilization has spread over the last five thousand years.
Therefore it is necessary to set aside the discredited idea of the Aryan invasion and
rewrite the textbooks in light of the new model, which is an organic and indigenous
development of civilization in India from 6500 BC with no break in continuity or evidence
of significant intrusive populations such as the invasion theory requires.(*2) Ancient India now appears not as a broken civilization deriving
its impetus from outside invaders but as the most continuous and consistent indigenous
development of civilization in the ancient world, whose literary record, the ancient
Vedas, remains with us today.
Based on such new evidence an entire group of scholars has arisen from both India and the
West who reject the Aryan invasion theory on various grounds considering the evidence of
archeology, skeletal remains, geography, mathematics, astronomy, linguistics and so on.
Such individuals include S.R. Rao, Navaratna Rajaram, Subhash Kak, James Schaffer, Mark
Kenoyer, S.P. Gupta, Bhagwan Singh, B.G. Sidharth, K.D. Sethna, K.D. Abhyankar, P.V.
Pathak, Srikant Talageri, S. Kalyanaraman, B.B. Chakravorty, Georg Feuerstein, and myself,
to name a few.(*3) Their views generally support those of
earlier Indian scholars and yogis, like Sri Aurobindo or B.G. Tilak, who proposed a Vedic
nature for the civilization of India going back to early ancient times.
The few scholars today who continue to hold an outside oRigin for the Aryans have also
generally given up the invasion/destruction idea, though they may still be proposing an
outside oRigin for the Aryans. They are proposing an Aryan migration, diffusion, or mixing
with indigenous people which is quite different from the violent and intrusive form of the
original Aryan invasion idea (note Romila Thapar in this regard *4).
Some of these scholars accept an Aryan element in the Harappan culture itself, owing to
Vedic traits like fire altars which have been found in Harappan sites, though they still
may not regard the Harappan culture as a whole as Aryan.
Yet whether the Vedic people were the original people of India, which is the majority
view, or whether they migrated gradually into India, the image of the invading and
destructive Aryans is totally discredited and should be removed. The image of the
Indo-Aryans as proto-fascists, which is how the Aryan invasion theory has been used to
represent them, is totally false. The idea misrepresents Hindu-Vedic culture, which has
traditionally been peaceful and never invaded any country, inflames Dravidian sentiments,
and casts a shadow of violence on ancient India for no real reason.
In this article I will summarize the main points which demonstrate the invalidity of the
invasion theory. This is a complex subject which I have dealt with in depth in my book
GODS, SAGES AND KINGS: VEDIC LIGHT ON ANCIENT CIVILIZATION (Salt Lake City USA: Passage
Press, 1991 and New Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass 1993), for those interested in a
more extensive examination.