by Jayaram V
There is a consensus opinion among many historians that the Aryans were a
heterogeneous group of people who lived in different parts
of the ancient world in the area comprising Mediterranean, parts
of Europe, central Asia and north western India. There is also an established
opinion in the academic circles that the ancestors of "some" Indians,
Persians, Germans, Greeks, Romans, and the Celts were Aryans,
who worshipped different gods and goddesses, used fire in their
rituals and spoke many languages, which have evolved into the present
day Indo European languages.
The Indo Iranian group of Aryans settled
in Iran and parts of north western India. Although they seemed to
have shared a common ancestry, they parted their ways in matters
of language and religion.
However, there is a divergence of opinion among
various scholars as to the original homeland of Aryans, which is summarized
below. Indian historians who deal with the subject fall broadly
into two categories: those who suggest that the Indian origin of the
Aryans and those who support the non-Indian origin of Aryans. Neither
side has come up with convincing evidence or argument so far.
||Propose Homeland of Aryans
||Sapta Sindhu or the Punjab
|Swami Dayanand Saraswathi
||A wide area located in
Russia between Weser and Vistula and up to White Russia and
||West of Caspian Sea
||Austria and Hungary
There is also a divergence of opinion with regard to the expansion
of Aryans into the Indian subcontinent.
According to one school of thought the
Aryans came in hordes and first settled in northwestern India, from
where they migrated gradually towards the Gangetic valley, north
eastern India and southern India.
According to some, they probably
came in two or more waves and colonized the land. There is no evidence
to suggest that they occupied the land forcibly and even if they
did it must have been on a limited scale. As they migrated towards
the east, they had to deal with more powerful and organized native
communities and established political powers, whom they could not
conquer politically. So their expansion into the subcontinent beyond
the Sapta Sindhu region must have happened peacefully through the
migration of families of wandering priests and sages rather than
through political conquest.
The ruling classes in these regions
were drawn to Vedic religion but not completely. So some compromise
on the part of both sides and some integration of religious practices
took place. This is evident from the fact that regions comprising
of present day UP, Bihar, Bengal, Orissa, parts of MP, all of southern
India and western India were not thoroughly Aryanized and that the
basic character of Vedic religion underwent dramatic changes during
the post Rigvedic period.
Historically these areas also witnessed
the predominance of non-Vedic religions and sectarian movements
like Jainism, Buddhism, Saivism, Shaktism and Vaishnavism.
It has to be remembered that India has always been, as it is
now, a heterogeneous society where people belonging to difference
races, religions, languages and backgrounds coexisted.
to India in the remote past from different parts of the world, from
Africa, Mediterranean, Europe, central Asia, Russia, China and probably
Arctic region by land and by sea.
While there was an inward migration
into the subcontinent, there was also probably some outward migration
towards the east, north and west and even to some islands in the
Pacific and Australia.
For example, contrary to the popular opinion, the people of
Andhra Pradesh were immigrant from different regions within the
subcontinent as well from regions outside India. The invading
armies of Sakas, Pahlavas, Persians and Kushanas settled in
various parts of the country and became an integral part of
native communities. So it is incorrect to divide the Indian
population mere into two or three groups.
The Indus people knew how to build ports
or trade merchandise by rivers and sea using boats. They knew how
to chart their course through dangerous seas using the position
of the stars and the movements of the sun and the moon. It is
wrong to assume that the Aryans introduced an organized religion
or an advanced civilization in the Indian subcontinent in the backdrop
of an inferior civilization.
In conclusion we may say that the Aryan migration, if there was one,
was one in a series of migrations of different communities and races
that came to the Indian subcontinent either peacefully or through
force and settled there. Over a period of time these communities
interacted with one another to create a rich tapestry of social,
religious and cultural practices that are peculiarly and uniquely
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