This is a very important article which calls the cloak off the most damaging theory concocted by the British and served to Indians. Most of the apparent differences that are seen in Indian society like the North-South Divide, Upper caste – Lower caste divides, language problems, can be related to the Aryan-Dravidian theory. I believe that this theory to be the most successful chapter of the British ‘Divide and Rule” policy. They employed Muller as part of Macaulay’s grand scheme to devalue Indian history. So much so, that today we have large sections of “educated Indians” who undermine their own heritage and consider that the British rule as a great chapter in India’s history.
The original link has been moved by BBC into archives
One of the most controversial ideas about Hindu history is the Aryan invasion theory.
This theory, originally devised by F. Max Muller in 1848, traces the history of Hinduism to the invasion of India’s indigenous people by lighter skinned Aryans around 1500 BCE.
The theory was reinforced by other research over the next 120 years, and became the accepted history of Hinduism, not only in the West but in India.
But many people argue that there is now evidence to show that Muller, and those who followed him, were wrong.
Others, however, believe that the case against the Aryan invation theory is far from conclusive.
The matter remains very controversial and highly politicised. The article below sets out the case made by those who believe that the Aryan invasion theory is seriously flawed.
The case against the Aryan invasion theory
The Aryan invasion theory was based on archaeological, linguistic and ethnological evidence.
Later research, it is argued, has either discredited this evidence, or provided new evidence that combined with the earlier evidence makes other explanations more likely.
Some historians of the area no longer believe that such invasions had such great influence on Indian history. It’s now generally accepted that Indian history shows a continuity of progress from the earliest times to today.
The changes brought to India by other cultures are not denied by modern historians, but they are no longer thought to be a major ingredient in the development of Hinduism.
Dangers of the theory
Opponents of the Aryan invasion theory claim that it denies the Indian origin of India’s predominant culture, and gives the credit for Indian culture to invaders from elsewhere.
They say that it even teaches that some of the most revered books of Hindu scripture are not actually Indian, and it devalues India’s culture by portraying it as less ancient than it actually is.
The theory was not just wrong, some say, but included unacceptably racist ideas:
- it suggested that Indian culture was not a culture in its own right, but a synthesis of elements from other cultures
- it implied that Hinduism was not an authentically Indian religion but the result of cultural imperialism
- it suggested that Indian culture was static, and only changed under outside influences
- it suggested that the dark-skinned Dravidian people of the South of India had got their faith from light-skinned Aryan invaders
- it implied that indigenous people were incapable of creatively developing their faith
- it suggested that indigenous peoples could only acquire new religious and cultural ideas from other races, by invasion or other processes
- it accepted that race was a biologically based concept (rather than, at least in part, a social construct) that provided a sensible way of ranking people in a hierarchy, which provided a partial basis for the caste system
- it provided a basis for racism in the Imperial context by suggesting that the peoples of Northern India were descended from invaders from Europe and so racially closer to the British Raj
- it gave a historical precedent to justify the role and status of the British Raj, who could argue that they were transforming India for the better in the same way that the Aryans had done thousands of years earlier
- it downgraded the intellectual status of India and its people by giving a falsely late date to elements of Indian science and culture
Aryan-Dravidian divide a myth: Study
25 September 2009
THE TIMES OF INDIA
HYDERABAD: The great Indian divide along north-south lines now stands blurred. A pathbreaking study by Harvard and indigenous researchers on ancestral Indian populations says there is a genetic relationship
between all Indians and more importantly, the hitherto believed “fact” that Aryans and Dravidians signify the ancestry of north and south Indians might after all, be a myth.
“This paper rewrites history… there is no north-south divide,” Lalji Singh, former director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and a co-author of the study, said at a press conference here on
Senior CCMB scientist Kumarasamy Thangarajan said there was no truth to the Aryan-Dravidian theory as they came hundreds or thousands of years after the ancestral north and south Indians had settled in India.
The study analysed 500,000 genetic markers across the genomes of 132 individuals from 25 diverse groups from 13 states. All the individuals were from six-language families and traditionally “upper” and
“lower” castes and tribal groups. “The genetics proves that castes grew directly out of tribe-like organizations during the formation of the Indian society,” the study said. Thangarajan noted that it was
impossible to distinguish between castes and tribes since their genetics proved they were not systematically different.
The study was conducted by CCMB scientists in collaboration with researchers at Harvard Medical School,
Harvard School of Public Health and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. It reveals that the present-day Indian population is a mix of ancient north and south bearing the genomic contributions from two
distinct ancestral populations – the Ancestral North Indian (ANI) and the Ancestral South Indian (ASI).
“The initial settlement took place 65,000 years ago in the Andamans and in ancient south India around the same time, which led to population growth in this part,” said Thangarajan. He added, “At a later stage,
40,000 years ago, the ancient north Indians emerged which in turn led to rise in numbers here. But at some point of time, the ancient north and the ancient south mixed, giving birth to a different set of population.
And that is the population which exists now and there is a genetic relationship between the population within India.”
The study also helps understand why the incidence of genetic diseases among Indians is different from the rest of the world. Singh said that 70% of Indians were burdened with genetic disorders and the study could
help answer why certain conditions restricted themselves to one population. For instance, breast cancer among Parsi women, motor neuron diseases among residents of Tirupati and Chittoor, or sickle cell
anaemia among certain tribes in central India and the North-East can now be understood better, said researchers.
The researchers, who are now keen on exploring whether Eurasians descended from ANI, find in their study that ANIs are related to western Eurasians, while the ASIs do not share any similarity with any other
population across the world. However, researchers said there was no scientific proof of whether Indians went to Europe first or the other way round.
Migratory route of Africans
Between 135,000 and 75,000 years ago, the East-African droughts shrunk the water volume of the lake Malawi by at least 95%, causing migration out of Africa. Which route did they take? Researchers say their study of the tribes of Andaman and Nicobar islands using complete mitochondrial DNA sequences and its comparison those of world populations has led to the theory of a “southern coastal route” of migration from East Africa through India.
This finding is against the prevailing view of a northern route of migration via Middle East, Europe, south-east Asia, Australia and then to India.