This section contains excerpts from writings of Prof Kittu Reddy of Sri
Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry, notably from two books, A Vision of
United India –Problems and Solutions(2005) and History of
India—A New Approach(2004), both published by Standard
Publishers(India),New Delhi. Besides teaching Sri Aurobindo’s social and
political thought at Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, he
has also conducted regular sessions with the Indian Army on Indian
Culture, the Mission of India and Motivation and Leadership.
The excerpts from Prof Reddy’s books are titled in context and preceded
by relevant notes.
THE ARYAN MYTH
Note : The
Aryan-Dravidian conflict is now being considered as a myth imposed on
the Indian psyche with disastrous political consequences. In the excerpt
below, Prof. Kittu Reddy gives an overview on how the myth is being
demystified in academic circles. The Journal section in this website
contains a complimentary write-up describing the political ramifications
of the Aryan myth.
THE ROOTS OF THE ARYAN INVASION THEORY
Let us see how this theory of the Aryan invasion came about. According
to L. Poliakov this theory had its origins in the 18th
century when the Europeans were involved in an effort to free themselves
from origins in Judaism and identify their true origins. Commonality in
the Sanskrit and ancient European languages seemed to point to the
origins of the Europeans in India. But the historians of the time, under
political compulsions wanted the British to appear superior to the
heathen Indians; therefore when they saw the similarity between Sanskrit
and ancient European languages like Greek and Latin, They were eager to
use this as evidence of European hegemony over Indians. In order to
fulfill these aims, they conceived of an original Aryan homeland in
Central Asia from where the Aryans decided to invade Asia and Europe. No
reasons were given for this invasion. Once this theory was put in place,
the historical research that followed was motivated by this political
view of things.
However, there were many eminent scholars and personalities - like Swami
Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo – who contested this theory right from the
beginning. Yet the theory of the Aryan invasion was propagated and
remains widely prevalent in India even today.
Let us look at some of the new light that has been thrown upon this
theory in the light of archaeological and scientific evidence.
Before we go into the new evidence, let us see the basis on which the
theory of Aryan invasion and its corollaries were founded.
This theory was founded on three fundamentals:
are two distinct races in India - the Aryan and the Dravidian.
are two distinct language groups in India – the Sanskritic and the non
sanskritic that correspond to the North Indian and South Indian
Vedas themselves refer frequently to ‘Aryans and Dasyus’ , which
indicates the tall and fair North Indian and the dark skinned and short
Today each one of these theories is being seriously questioned and in
fact being proved of doubtful validity. Now archaeological evidence –
most importantly of the river Saraswati – and the new and modern dating
system throw the whole Aryan invasion theory into disarray.
The Aryan invasion idea is becoming rejected worldwide in the light of
the new archaeological evidence that contradicts it.
In a recent academic paper it is argued that there is an indigenous
development of civilization in India going back to at least 600 B.C. It
proposes that the great Harappan or Indus Valley urban culture
2600-1900, centered on the Saraswati river of Vedic fame, had much in
common with vedic literary accounts. It states that the Harappan culture
came to an end not because of outside invaders but owing to
environmental changes, most important of which was the drying up of the
Saraswati. Note the conclusion.
“That the archeological record and ancient oral and literate traditions
of South Asia are now converging has significant implications for
regional cultural history. A few scholars have proposed that there is
nothing in the “literature” firmly placing the Indo-Aryans outside of
South Asia, and now the archeological record is confirming this.
“We reject most strongly the simplistic historical interpretations,
which date back to the 18th century, that continue to be imposed on
South Asian culture history. European ethnocentrism, colonialism,
racism, and anti-Semitism significantly diminish these still prevailing
interpretations. Surely, as South Asian studies approach the 21st
century, it is time to describe emerging data objectively rather than
perpetuate interpretations without regard to the data archeologist have
worked so hard to reveal”.
This is a statement by a noted western archeologist specializing in
ancient India, James Schaffer of Case Western University as part of his
new article, ‘Migration, Philology and South Asian Archeology’.
THE RIVER SARASWATI
Today there is dramatic evidence relating to a Vedic river known as the
Saraswati. The “Rig Veda” mentions the Saraswati as a “mighty river”
originating in the Himalayas and following southwest towards the Arabian
sea, it refers to the Saraswati as “the best of the rivers” (naditama)
and “a great river” with perennial water. Another epic, the
“Mahabharata” says the river disappeared underground somewhere near
Sirsa town in Haryana.
The people of India today regard the Ganga (Ganges) as the sacred river,
but it was not so in ancient times. To the Vedic people the sacred river
par excellence was the Saraswati, a great river running in a course more
or less parallel to the Indus but well to the east. This was long
regarded as a mythical river. Beginning in the 1970’s, satellite data
showed that such a river once did flow as described in the Rigveda.
Following this discovery, in a great exploration of several thousand
miles, the late V .S. Wakankar traced the course of this ancient river.
We now know that this great river had dried up completely by 1900 B.C,
if not earlier. The people who composed the Vedas must have been well
established in India by then, long before 1500 B.C – The date assigned
for the Aryan invasion. The geological society of India has also probed
this from various perspectives.
In recent articles in the British journal, Current Biology, there
are references, which have major implications for India. Based on
genetic tests, the articles note that a key mitochondria DNA of the
Western Eurasian strain accounts for no more than 5.2% in Indian
populations, as against over 70% in European Countries. Simply put, this
means that the supposed Aryan invasion is contradicted by genetics. The
conclusion is that neither was there any Aryan invasion nor even any
significant Aryan immigration.
Further this study shows that this genetic strain is present in roughly
the same proportion in North and South India. This again goes to prove
that there is no genetic divide between the so - called North Indian
Aryans and the South Indian Dravidians. Thus the dichotomy created by
these historians has according to the latest scientific evidence no
basis at all.
Other factors, which have discredited this theory, are the decipherment
of the Indus valley script. It was Natwar Jha who deciphered first the
Indus valley script and announced it in 1996.
As a result, the model of Indian history based on the Aryan invasion
stood shattered by Science and Objective Research. There was a serious
debate over the validity of the model, with archaeologists - both Indian
and Western - insisting that they found no support for any invasion in
ancient times. At the same time, being ignorant of Sanskrit, most
archaeologists found it difficult to interpret archaeological data that
are identified with the Vedic Civilization. Jha’s knowledge of Sanskrit
and his decipherment took a step towards this and the resulting readings
provide clearly defined historical context for the Harappans by linking
their archaeology to the Vedic literature.
LINK BETWEEN SANSKRIT AND THE HARAPPAN
What made this possible was Jha’s Vedic scholarship along with his
mastery of paleography. He showed that the language of the Harappan
seals is Vedic Sanskrit, and their written massages have close
connections with the Vedic literature. This solved a fundamental problem
by providing a historical context from the Harappans. Jha’s breakthrough
was the result of applying and empirical methodology to the primary
sources, backed by great scholarship. His decipherment is very much a
pert of this approach- one that combines modern science and ancient
At the same time N. Rajaram had arrived at a similar conclusion. His
conclusion was based on a combined study of the mathematics of ancient
Indian texts known as the Sulbasutras and the architecture of
Harappan cities. He writes “The mathematical precision displayed in the
carefully laid out cities and structures of the Harappan Civilization
had convinced me that its architects and builders must have had access
to fairly advanced mathematics - of the kind found in the Sulbasutras”
Further a study of Harappan archaeology and Vedic literature shows that
Vedic mathematics texts were used in the design and construction of
carefully planned cities of the Harappan civilization. The American
mathematician A. Siedenberg has established that both Old Babylonia
(1900-1750 BC) and the Egyptian Middle Kingdom (2050-1800 BC) borrowed
heavily from Vedic Mathematics, which was already well known in Harappan
Today, a great deal of research is being done on languages in India. It
has been found that there are thousands of words in the Tamil language
that are common to Sanskrit. It is quite possible to believe from the
same root, from one another, which preceded them.
Thus the theory of an Aryan invasion and of two different races in India
– the Aryan and the Dravidian – stands discredited; similarly the dates
of the Vedas become much earlier than that of the Harappan and
Mohenjodaro period. We shall have to wait a little longer till the
research now being conducted all over the world comes to a definitive
conclusion; in the meanwhile the least we can do is to disabuse our
minds of the Aryan invasion theory and its corollary theories that are
being taught in most text books.
HISTORY OF INDIA - BY PROF. KITTU REDDY
NO: 26 TO 32