The troubled history of the Aryan Invasion Theory

Ever since the rise of the internet, Hindus have been able to dispute the Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) with greater and greater success. It is not that the points made by the Hindus were not around in literature and history. It is that the official historians had tried to suppress them from getting a wider audience. Thus, the school textbook propagated the theory without pointing out that it is in dispute.

When the theory was first postulated some time around 1800 CE, it was said that around 1500 BCE a horde of barbarians galloped from Central Asia all the way to the present day Indus river, and easily defeated a primitive tribe and then ruled the areas, and produced the Vedas, created Sanskrit, etc.  Let us call this point one.

Point two: Around 1920, Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa were discovered, and it was realized that the people habitating around the Indus river were not primitive. So only the theory of the manner of defeat was changed, and it was said that the barbarians were victorious because of their better fighting techniques.

Point three: Despite making serious effort, no evidence of an invasion was discovered.  So now it was said that there was a migration over a period of time and the outsiders were able to dominate the indigenous people and so ruled over them.  And produced the Vedas etc. over a 200 year period.  The term Aryan Invasion Theory was dropped, and instead it was now called Aryan Migration Theory.

However, within official academic circles, point three did not get complete acceptance. What is to be recognised is that one of the so-called eminent historians, Romila Thapar, was one of the earliest to propose the migration theory. While she would spend a lot of time criticising those who said that there was neither an invasion nor migration, she was conspicuously silent in criticising those who still held on to the view of an invasion. Most of those who held these views were close members of her own academic circles.

So it can be seen that the whole programme was that of chicanery to make people not consider the alternative of an indigenous origin of those called the Aryans.  When new information came, instead of revisiting the ‘barbarians galloping from Central Asia’ theory, there was mere tweaking of some aspect of the theory to fit the new information.

However, we can ask some logical questions. We should do this by following the dictum of Ram Swarup and Sita Ram Goel that it is time we should be asking questions, and stop merely responding to the same repeated questions.

Question one: Did some of the barbarians stop in the lands that they traversed through before reaching the Indus river?  If so, what was the commonality between them and the people in what is now India?  Did any of them, when they settled in these lands, produce the type of literature that was produced around the Indus river?

Question two: It is also said that some of the people from Central Asia galloped westwards and settled in what is now Europe. The same sub-questions posted above may please be answered.

Question three: What about the paradox postulated by David Frawley? How is it that the advanced civilization around Indus left no literature but the barbarians were able to create some of the greatest literature in a short time span of 200 years?

Question four: The late Dr. Rajaram said that the migration theory and the invasion theory are really no different, since the end result is the same.  Do the proponents of the migration theory agree?

Question five: Since the migrants were supposed to have come over a period of time, were they all of the same stock, or were they of different ethnicity, etc.?

Question six:  Is there any other example in the world where not so civilized barbarians were able to peacefully dominate the indigenous society, which did not leave any literature of their own?

While the troubled history and the questions would be an easy way to explain to the not so well informed about the chicanery of the proponents of the AIT or AMT, it is my personal opinion that there is also no need to respond to anyone who says that there is new evidence to establish the invasion theory unless and until the above six questions are addressed.  The supposed new evidence involves shifting the goal posts or creating even more confusion than at present.


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About the Author

Ashok Chowgule
Working President (External), Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bharat.