An entire industry that has dealt in scientific racism is on the verge of entering the dustbin of history. The genetic analysis of a 4,500 year old skeleton that belonged to a woman from Rakhigarhi, the largest town in the Indus Valley Civilisation, has punched another gaping hole in the contentious ‘Aryan Invasion Theory’. According to this hypothesis – which has been peddled for more for nearly 150 years by racist Western Indologists and their Marxist sidekicks in India – fair skinned ‘Aryan’ invaders settled north India after decimating the indigenous dark skinned natives.
In an 18 page paper (1) published in the scientific journal Cell, Vasant Shinde, Vagheesh Narasimhan, Nadin Rohland, Nick Patterson, Niraj Rai and David Reich write that genome sequencing has revealed the inhabitants of the region were indigenous people, challenging the view that European invaders settled the land thousands of years ago. Titled ‘An Ancient Harappan Genome Lacks Ancestry From Steppe Pastoralists or Iranian Farmers’, the report says the Indus Valley Civilisation people were a south Asian group whose continuity of existence is traced to before 7,000 BCE.
“The paper indicates that there was no Aryan invasion and no Aryan migration and that all the developments right from the hunting-gathering stage to modern times in South Asia were done by indigenous people,” says Shinde, former Vice-Chancellor, Deccan College, Pune, and lead author of the paper. (2)
The report stresses that the population of the Indus Valley Civilisation has no detectable ancestry from Steppe pastoralists or from Anatolian and Iranian farmers, suggesting farming in South Asia arose from local foragers rather than from large-scale migration from the West. According to Shinde, “This breakthrough research completely sets aside the Aryan migration-invasion theory (which) is based on very flimsy grounds.”
Backdoor for invasion
So will Rakhigarhi result in the death of this pernicious theory that has divided Indians from Indians and Indians from Europeans? The short answer is – not immediately but eventually. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of individuals in the West (plus their sidekicks in India) who are deeply invested in the invasion theory and who will have to find alternate careers if they accept the facts. Plus, there are political and religious reasons that give it legs.
For an analogy, take the historicity of Jesus Christ. Dozens of highly rated scholars such as Bart Ehrman (3) agree that he is a fictional figure created by the early Christian church to attract gullible converts. Today except for crackpots and fundamentalists, nobody believes in the Virgin Birth, or the parting of the sea, or the many childish miracles that are attributed to Jesus. But like a persistent virus, the myth has endured. The church today has no use of Jesus and can survive independent of him because the focus is on the Christian god. Similarly, Saudi Arabia has razed several important historical sites connected with the early history of Islam and Mohammed. The Saudis know that Islam is a political organisation and only requires Allah to survive. (4)
It is worth mentioning that David Reich, who did the genome sequencing in the Rakhigrahi case, is a poster boy of the Aryan invasion coterie. “He is infamous for making political remarks about Hindutva and implicitly comparing it with Nazi ideology,” says Mumbai-based scientist and researcher Abhijit Chavda.
In this backdrop, to imagine that haters such as Reich and charlatans like Michael Witzel would swallow their pride and suddenly give up their long-cherished racist views and beliefs in Western superiority would be naive.
Shinde’s paper seems to have left a back door open for the invasion hypothesisers to creep back in: “However, a natural route for Indo-European languages to have spread into South Asia is from Eastern Europe via Central Asia in the first half of the 2nd millennium BCE, a chain of transmission that did occur as has been documented in detail with ancient DNA. The fact that the Steppe pastoralist ancestry in South Asia matches that in Bronze Age Eastern Europe (but not Western Europe) provides additional evidence for this theory, as it elegantly explains the shared distinctive features of Balto-Slavic and Indo-Iranian languages.”
And in fact, Reich separately told Nature India that their data are consistent with the theory that Western Asian agricultural technology or ideas moved into South Asia through adoption or ideas from neighbours. “Our findings do not prove a separate invention of farming in South Asia,” he says. (5)
DNA and linguistic studies may drill holes in the Aryan Invasion Theory but it continues to get traction in the West. Their opinions are then amplified by their coolies in India’s academia and media.
Origins of a diabolic idea
The Aryan Invasion Theory had its roots in the 1800s when European scholars discovered the remarkable similarities in the languages of India and Europe – in particular the close kinship between Sanskrit and German and Sanskrit and Latin. The Germans were the most excited of all Europeans by the discovering of these ancient connections. “When Sanskrit was discovered, and it dawned on the Germans that the antiquity of Sanskrit was very great, and that Sanskrit and German were somehow related, the Germans suddenly had an answer to the question of their own ethnic and linguistic origins,” says author and historian Kosla Vepa. (6)
This German interest in Sanskrit and the Vedas did not spring from any love for knowledge or India. Vepa explains: “From the beginning, the great interest that Germany showed in Sanskrit had more to do with their own obsessions and questions regarding their ethnic and linguistic origins. It had very little or at least far less to do with the origin of the ancient Indic, about whom they had considerably less interest.”
So widespread was the magnitude of the German immersion in Vedic studies that, when in 1871 the various German states finally consolidated into the German Empire, Henry Maine, a member of the Viceroy of India’s council, declared, perhaps with a tinge of envy, “A nation has been born out of Sanskrit.”
There was another key catalyst that caused Europeans to seek comfort in Indology. Christian Europe was trying to distance itself from the Jewish traditions that formed the basis of Christianity. Colonialism was a big driver of racist sentiments in Europe. For, in order to enslave people, commit genocide and ethnically cleanse entire countries of non-white people, there had to be a belief system that the white European was superior to these other races. During the Renaissance, a caucus of European clergymen and artists had already transformed the brown curly haired and probably Negroid Yeshua into the white, blue-eyed and blond Jesus. With Jesus converted into a Caucasian, the next quest was to get rid of Christianity’s Semetic tag.
It was during this state of ferment and conspiracy that the British Indologist Monier Williams serendipitously discovered Sanskrit. It was assumed that the languages of Europe were derived from this distant language in India. But there was a catch – how could the blue-eyed blond Nordics share kinship with the brown/black and enslaved Indian? That was an easy fix – when Christians were prepared to erase their close connections with Jews and Israel, then turning fiction into fact wasn’t an insurmountable problem.
European Indologists declared that the Vedic culture and Sanskrit were not indigenously developed but brought by Caucasian horsemen who destroyed the thriving cities of the Indus Valley and committed genocide on a massive scale. These barbarians then became the Brahmins and Kshatriyas of India. And that’s how deftly the Aryan Invasion Theory was fabricated.
According to Vepa, this hypothesis had no basis in fact but it served the purpose and killed several birds with one stone. “It denied India the autochthonous legacy of the dominant culture of the subcontinent, and helped create a schism in the Indian body politic, and further implied that the native Indic was incapable of original thought and certainly was not capable of producing a language like Sanskrit.” (6)
Secondly, it filled the obsessive need during those decades that the European had for an ancestor that was not Semitic in origin. “Lo and behold the ancestor did not come from India but from a long lost Shangri-La of whom there were no survivors (so that their hypothesis could never be contradicted). Thus was born the mythical Aryan, whose only qualification was that he should hail from a land that was anywhere but India, preferably from a region not very densely inhabited or conscious of their antiquity. Further it gave the excuse for the British to claim that they were indeed the later day version of the Aryans destined to lord it over lesser, more unfortunate people by reason of the fact that they were Aryans.”
The British were the least enthusiastic of all Europeans about the newly discovered kinship with India. During the conquest of the country they had faced stiff resistance, especially during the horrific bloodletting of the First War of Independence in 1857. They had therefore developed an intense hatred for Indians. Plus, the numerous British engineered and induced famines that killed up to 60 million Indians suggest they had plans to settle India with the white race after annihilating the Indians (as they were doing so in the Americas and Australia). Certainly, it’s easier to commit genocide if the victim is as distantly related as possible. In this backdrop, the British were adamant about not moving the European homeland too far from their Biblical origins to India.
Comments American Indologist Edwin Bryant: “There were those among the British, in particular, whose colonial sensibilities made them reluctant to acknowledge any potential cultural indebtedness to the forefathers of the rickshaw pullers of Calcutta, and who preferred to hang on to the Biblical Adam far more than their European contemporaries.” (7)
The Indomania of the early British Orientalists “did not die of natural causes; it was killed off’ and replaced by an Indophobia initiated by Evangelicalism and Utilitarianism, epitomized by Charles Grant and James Mill, respectively. (8)
Bryant points out that Grant, who was very influential in East India Company circles, promoted an aggressive Anglicising and Christianising relationship with India, which he provoked by completely disparaging Indian laws, religion and character.
The British eventually adopted a practical approach. With wars of rebellion constantly breaking out in different parts of India, the colonialists realised they could not subdue the country by fighting alone. And, like the Islamic invaders before them, they accepted the fact the Hindus were too numerous to wipe out. They decided to subdue the rebellious instincts of Indians with disinformation – the notion that since India had been previously conquered by the Aryans, the British (being the descendants of the Aryans) were only reclaiming what was theirs. The Indian, therefore, had no right or reason to resist the master race.
So in 1847 the British East India Company commissioned a poverty stricken but ambitious German scholar named Friedrich Max Muller to interpret Hindu texts in a negative way. This would demoralise the Hindus, ensuring the complete domination of the British over the Indian subcontinent.
Enter Max Muller
In 1853 when the salary of an English teacher was £90 per year, Muller was paid £4 per sheet of his writing which comes to roughly £800 today. “This is an incredibly high price for only one sheet of writing,” says author and historian Gwylim Beckerlegge. “But it’s the general law of business that the price of a commodity increases with its demand. The British were in such an imperative need to get someone to do this job and Max Muller was the right person, so they paid whatever he asked for. His enthusiastic letters to his mother reveal the fact that he was desperate to bring Christianity into India so that the religion of the Hindus should be doomed.” (9)
Muller, who translated the Rig Veda during 1849-1874, exceeded British expectations. He chanced upon the Sanskrit word ‘Arya’ which means a “noble” or “excellent” person, and claimed it meant Aryan, a primordial race of Europeans who had their homeland somewhere in the Caucasus – far from India – from where a northern branch migrated to Europe and a southern branch to India and Iran. The Aryans were presumed to be fair-complexioned Indo-European pastoralists who conquered the dark-skinned ‘dasyu’ urbanites of India. The upper castes, particularly the Brahmins, were thought to be of Aryan descent whereas the lower castes and Dalits were considered the descendants of the ‘dasyus’.
Writes Beckerlegge: “Muller was a British agent, especially employed to write the translations of the Vedas in such a demeaning way so that the Hindus should lose faith in them.”
Muller’s enthusiastic letters reveal the fact that he was keen to bring Christianity into India so that the religion of the Hindus should be doomed. In 1856 in a letter to the German diplomat Chevalier Bunsen he wrote: “After the last annexation the territorial conquest of India ceases — what follows next is the struggle in the realm of religion and of spirit, in which, of course, centres the interests of the nations. India is much riper for Christianity than Rome or Greece were at the time of St. Paul. The rotten tree has for some time had artificial supports, because its fall would have been inconvenient for the Government….” (10)
In a lecture in London in 1873, he observed: “The worship of Shiva or Vishnu and the other popular deities, is of the same, nay, in many cases of a more degraded and savage character than the worship, of Jupiter, Apollo and Minerva; it belongs to a stratum of thought which is long buried beneath our feet, it may live on like the lion and the tiger but the mere air of free thought and civilised life will extinguish it.” (11)
By the 1880s, Muller’s ideas had been adapted by racist ethnologists. For example, as an exponent of race science, colonial administrator Herbert Hope Risley (1851-1911) used the ratio of nose width to height to divide Indian people into Aryan and Dravidian races.
The idea of an invasion was fuelled by the discovery of the ruins of the Indus Valley Civilisation, suggesting a destructive invasion. This argument was developed by Mortimer Wheeler, a British Army brigadier turned archaeologist, who interpreted the presence of many unburied corpses found in Mohenjo-daro as the victims of conquests.
In 1947, Wheeler wrote: “What destroyed this firmly settled civilisation? Climatic, economic, political deterioration may have weakened it, but its ultimate extinction is more likely to have been completed by deliberate and large-scale destruction. It may be no mere chance that at a late period of Mohenjo-daro men, women and children appear to have been massacred there. On circumstantial evidence, Indra stands accused.” (12)
Interestingly, after being kicked out of India, Wheeler was offered a job in Pakistan where he wrote a book whose title ‘Five Thousand Years of Pakistan’ is among the most cringeworthy in the annals of archaeology. Clearly, the only agenda of many Western Indologists is the destruction of India by allying with its enemies. (13)
Reverse flow of Indian DNA
The Aryan Invasion Theory has enjoyed a surprisingly long run. Surprising because the same Westerners who would demand rigorous proof for the Theory of Gravity, the Theory of Relativity and the Theory of Evolution are holding on to a flimsy idea which has absolutely no evidence.
However, science and technology are the biggest enemies of crooks and criminals. Scientific studies have exposed the books and teachings of the three Abrahamic religions as the fanciful imagination of Middle Eastern goat herds and shepherds. Similarly, the invasion hypothesis is facing intense scrutiny due to progress in DNA studies.
DNA can help solve a murder; it can help prove or disprove paternity; it has now shown the Aryan Invasion Theory to be false and that there was no migration of Europeans to India. On the contrary, there is a large body of research that proves ancient Indians carried language and culture to the West. DNA analyses show the Indian gene pool has remained relatively stable for over 50,000 years, which would not be the case had there been an invasion in 1200 BCE or an Aryan migration as these British-inspired quacks claim.
In an article titled ‘Genetics and the Aryan Debate’, author Michel Danino says as many nine DNA studies have been conducted on Indian populations. (14) And what does each of these studies say?
The first such study dates back to 1999 and was conducted by the Estonian biologist Toomas Kivisild with 14 co-authors from various nationalities. It relied on 550 samples of mitochondrial DNA and revealed there was no recent population movement towards India; rather the subcontinent served as a pathway for eastward migration of modern humans from Africa, some 40,000 years ago.
A year later, 13 Indian scientists led by Susanta Roychoudhury studied 644 samples of DNA from some 10 Indian ethnic groups, especially from the East and South. They found “a fundamental unity” of DNA lineages in India, in spite of the extensive cultural and linguistic diversity.
In 2006, a study headed by Indian biologist Sanghamitra Sengupta said there is no evidence to conclude that Central Asia or India is the donor of the Caucasian gene.
Another study by biologist Sanghamitra Sahoo concluded that the deep, common ancestry between India and Central Asia is because of migration of Indian lineages northward.
Archaeologist Stephen Oppenheimer (15) has found the highest rates and greatest diversity of Caucasian DNA in the Indian subcontinent and Iran, and low rates in the Caucasus itself. Oppenheimer says the first modern humans travelled out of Africa, hugged the coast of the Arabian peninsula and entered India – without any stopovers in Turkey or Germany. And from India, they moved north into Central Asia. This northward migration started over 51,000 years ago.
Writing in the American Journal of Human Genetics, Kivisild agrees with Oppenheimer’s argument: “India acted as an incubator of early genetic differentiation of modern humans moving out of Africa.”
Again, author Shrikant Talageri has demonstrated how the earliest books of the Hindus mention the eastern rivers of India while the later volumes mention the western and northwestern rivers, suggesting that the Indo-European civilisation originated and moved westwards out of India. (16)
DNA analysis can also throw up unexpected results. In 2011, the Centre for Biotechnology & Nanotechnology, Sree Buddha College of Engineering, Kerala, conducted DNA testing on the Ezhava community and the result was that they were genetically closer to Sikhs, Turks and Germans than to the Tamils who are next door neighbours.
The study concludes: “The vast majority of haplotypes were observed only once, reflecting the enormous genetic heterogeneity of the Ezhavas. Based on the genotype, the Ezhavas showed more resemblance to Jat Sikh population of Punjab and the Turkish populations than to the East Asians, hence indicating a paternal lineage of European origin.” (17)
The Kerala study is an outlier and points to the complexity of Indian civilisation. It is proof that India is one of the few genuine melting pots where genes come and blend amicably. But overall, DNA testing over the decades has indicated there has never been an Aryan invasion precisely because there never were any Aryans. There were only Aryas – and they always lived in India.
How the invasion theory helps the West
The invasion theory is – and has long been – helpful for Christian missionaries, who are in reality the battering ram of Western imperialism. A nation weakened by Christianity is more easily defeated because the converts become fifth columnists. The most recent instance is of Hong Kong protestors requesting US President Donald Trump to intervene in the internal affairs of China and help “liberate” Hong Kong. (18)
During the colonial period, the Aryan theory served politically to suggest a common ancestry and dignity among the colonised Indians and their British rulers. Bengali social reformer Keshab Chunder Sen saw English rule in India as a “reunion of parted cousins”. Sen was also vocal about the benefits of British rule in India. In a lecture delivered in London in 1870, he maintained that “the lord in his mercy sent out the British nation to rescue India”. On another occasion he said, “It is Christ who rules British India…None but Jesus ever deserved this bright, this precious diadem, India, and Jesus shall have it”. (19)
In 1873, Jyotirao Phule held the view that “the invasion of the Aryans was crucial to the creation of segregated groups in the form of castes, where the Aryans were the victorious aliens who kept the indigenous people permanently subordinated”. (20)
In a nutshell, the invasion theory helped fuel a discord among various established ethno-racial groups in India. “The oppressed classes vented their frustration towards upper-caste Hindus and fully accepted AIT,” writes Subrata Banerjee of Aachen University, Germany. “A large section of upper-caste Hindus also accepted it and embraced the newfound brotherhood with their colonial rulers. (21)
To get a measure of how some Westerners negate and deny the concept of nationhood for Indians, here’s what the arch colonialist and racist British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said during the freedom movement in 1935: “The British had as much right to be in India as anyone else there….” (22)
Given the importance of the invasion theory as a tool, George Curzon, the Viceroy of India (1899-1905) said in 1915 that Oriental studies were “part of the necessary furniture of the empire”. On an earlier occasion he said “the East is a university in which the scholar never takes his degree”, which was another way of saying that India required Britain’s presence more or less forever. (23)
This dynamic hasn’t changed a century later. While a physical presence cannot be attained except within the embassies in New Delhi, the West wants some kind of foothold in India, if only for influence and its markets. A mentally colonised people who believe in the West’s superiority is more than welcome. If converted Christians, Indian Marxists and Macaulayite Hindus are willing to work for the West for money or love, why would the Western elites surrender that card?
Let’s not forget that the West has completely appropriated (translation: stolen) the Roman and Greek civilisations. The Christians, who destroyed these two shining stars of the ancient world, today claim the legacy of Pericles and Caesar. Similarly, the West is loath to relinquish its claims on ancient India’s achievements.
An India divided is in the interests of the major power centres – the West, China, Russia and the Islamic crescent. India’s Marxist academia and media feed off the crumbs thrown by these four groups, and are therefore not averse to selling India for a few dollars, foreign junkets or an assistant professorship at an American university. These fifth columnists will therefore continue to support the invasion theory ad infinitum – and beyond.
It’s an endearing coincidence that in a country that is affectionately referred to by its people as Mother India, the skeleton of a woman provided a vital clue about the country’s history. It’s as if a mother who lived in Haryana around 4,500 years ago reached out to settle the longest running dispute over her origins.
As Indian scientists – literally – dig deeper, and find more DNA rich material, it’ll only reinforce the fact that Sanskrit, Vedas, the Upanishads and all the great and sublime knowledge that the ancient Indians have produced are indigenous and not created by so-called Aryans.
In the meantime, India must apply pressure on the institutions that are breeding grounds for anti-Indian and anti-Hindu Indologists who continue to peddle outdated and fake hypothesis about India’s history. While individuals like Reich and Witzel will come and go, it is the institutions which offer them the space to crank out hate and lies that need to be made answerable. Indologists who make political statements cannot be independent; they come with an agenda. As Chavda says, “Let’s be clear: a scientist should never dabble in politics, because it compromises his/her objectivity as well as credibility.” (24)
With India’s growing clout in the economic, military and geopolitical spaces, its leadership must lean on the likes of Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge to smoke out the petty men and women who populate Indology departments. Observe how Terroristan has become a pariah around the world after India started leveraging its buying power. When India makes trade deals conditional on good behaviour, the mercantile world will quickly evict the India-baiters from its universities.
- Cell, https://www.cell.com/cell/pdf/S0092-8674(19)30967-5.pdf
- Times of India, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/dna-analysis-of-rakhigarhi-remains-challenges-aryan-invasion-theory/articleshow/71018198.cms
- Bart Ehrman, https://ehrmanblog.org/
- Saudi Arabia Destroyed 98 Percent of Its Cultural Heritage, https://news.artnet.com/art-world/saudi-arabia-destroyed-98-percent-of-its-cultural-heritage-174029
- Nature India, https://www.natureasia.com/en/nindia/article/10.1038/nindia.2019.121
- Kosla Vepa, The Pernicious Effects of the Misinterpreted Greek Synchronism in Ancient Indian History
- Edwin Bryant, The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture: The Indo-Aryan Migration Debate, page 22
- Thomas Trautmann, Aryans and British India, page 99
- Gwylim Beckerlegge, ‘Professor Friedrich Max Müller and the Missionary Cause’, in ‘Religion in Victorian Britain: Culture and Empire (Vol 5)
- The Life and Letters of the Right Honourable Friedrich Max Muller, page 181, https://archive.org/stream/lifelettersofrig01mluoft/lifelettersofrig01mluoft_djvu.txt
- Max Muller, Lecture on Missions, London, 1873
- Mortimer Wheeler, ‘Harappa 1946’ – Ancient India journal, 1947
- Mortimer Wheeler, Five Thousand Years of Pakistan, 1950, https://archive.org/details/in.gov.ignca.17045
- Michel Danino, https://www.academia.edu/23185582/Genetics_and_the_Aryan_Issue
- Stephen Oppenheimer, The Real Eve
- Shrikant G. Talageri, The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis
- Y-Short Tandem Repeat Haplotype and Paternal Lineage of the Ezhava Population of Kerala, South India, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3118723/
- ABC News, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-09/hong-kong-protesters-ask-us-donald-trump-to-liberate-city/11490746
- A Global History of Christians: How Everyday Believers Experienced Their World, page 323
- Romila Thapar, The Theory of Aryan Race and India: History and Politics, page 5
- Subrata Banerjee, The Acceptance and Proliferation of the Aryan Invasion Theory in India
- Koenraad Elst, Political aspects of the Aryan invasion debate, http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/downloads/books/aid.htm#_top
- Edward W. Said, Latent and Manifest Orientalism – Race and Racialization: Essential Readings, Ed Tania Das Gupta, page 50
- Abhijit Chavda, ‘Lies, deception and character assassination: Aryan invasion propaganda touches new low’, My Nation, https://www.mynation.com/views/aryan-invasion-theory-ait-kai-friese-indus-valley-civilisation-indian-history-pep13y
Featured Image: Natureasia
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Rakesh is a globally cited defence analyst. His work has been published by the Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi; Russia Beyond, Moscow; Hindustan Times, New Delhi; Business Today, New Delhi; Financial Express, New Delhi; BusinessWorld Magazine, New Delhi; Swarajya Magazine, Bangalore; Foundation Institute for Eastern Studies, Warsaw; Research Institute for European and American Studies, Greece, among others.
As well as having contributed for a research paper for the US Air Force, he has been cited by leading organisations, including the US Army War College, Pennsylvania; US Naval PG School, California; Johns Hopkins SAIS, Washington DC; Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi; Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington DC; Rutgers University, New Jersey; Institute of International and Strategic Relations, Paris; Institute for Strategic, Political, Security and Economic Consultancy, Berlin; Siberian Federal University, Krasnoyarsk; Institute for Defense Analyses, Virginia; International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, Washington DC; Stimson Centre, Washington DC; Foreign Policy Research Institute, Philadelphia; Center for Strategic & International Studies, Washington DC; and BBC.
His articles have been quoted extensively by national and international defence journals and in books on diplomacy, counter terrorism, warfare, and development of the global south.