Professor Dr.Michael Witzel, a racist scholar wedded to the cause of Evangelization of India and the world (if that is feasible) and total distortion of Indian History, divorced from all known principles of classical historiography is now in Chennai city delivering lectures on the languages and cultures revealed by the Rigveda.
The Aryan Invasion: Fact or Fallacy?
The greater issues involved in this apparently obscure debate are quite significant. If ancient India was a Vedic culture, then we would have to rewrite not only the history of India but also that of Europe and the Middle East. The whole edifice of western civilization’s interpretation of history would go down ignominiously. The change in our view of history would be as radical as Einstein’s ideas that changed our view of physics
The Aryan Invasion Theory and Hindu Politics
A recent Western academic paper argues that the Aryan invasion theory is wrong and that there is an indigenous development of civilization in India going back to at least 6000 BCE (Mehrgarh). It proposes that the great Harappan or Indus Valley urban culture (2600 - 1900 BCE), which it notes was centered on the Sarasvati 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 Sarasvati. It argues further that the movement of populations away from the Sarasvati to the Ganges, after the Sarasvati dried up (c. 1900 - 1300 BCE), was also reflected in the literature. It thereby proposes a complete continuity of cultural development in India revealed both through archaeology and through ancient Indian literature.
Is the Aryan/Dravidian binary valid?
We all understand how the 19th century construction of the Orient by the West satisfied its needs of self-definition in relation to the Other. To justify its ascendancy, the Other was defined to be racially mixed and inferior; irrational and primitive; despotic and feudal. This definition was facilitated by a selective use of the texts and rejecting traditional interpretations, an approach that is now called Orientalism. The terms in the construction were not properly defined. Now we know that to speak of a “pure” race is meaningless since all external characteristics of humans are defined in a continuum. In the 19th century atmosphere of European triumphalism, what obtained in Europe was taken to be normative. With hindsight it is hard to believe that these ideas were not contested more vigorously.
Aryan Invasion Dupe
In the history book currently in use in the Indian schools, the beginning of the Vedic civilisation coincides with Aryan invasion. History, which records actual events, accomplished facts and hard realities, should have nothing to do with personal beliefs or pre-conceived notions and should depict factually the actual happenings. Though history deals with the past, it has its own contribution to make in tackling the current problems and in shaping the future. In his “Discovery of India”, Pundit Nehru says: “Out of that distant past, which is history and the present, which is the burden of to-day, the future of India is gradually taking shape. We must have an intellectual understanding of these mighty processes of history. We must have even more, an emotional awareness of our past and present, in order to try to give right direction to the future.”
Demise of Aryan Invasion Theory
It is a known fact that most of the original proponents of AIT were not historians or archaeologists but had missionary and political axe to grind. Max Muller in fact had been paid by the East India Company to further its colonial aims, and others like Lassen and Weber were ardent German nationalists, with hardly any authority or knowledge on India, only motivated by the superiority of German race/nationalism through white Aryan race theory. And as everybody knows this eventually ended up in the most calamitous event of 20th century: the World War II. Even in the early times of the AIT's onward journey of acceptability, there were numerous challengers like C.J.H. Hayes, Boyed C. Shafer and Hans Kohn who made a deep study of the evolution and character of nationalism in Europe. They had exposed the unscientificness of many of the budding social sciences which were utilized in the 19th century to create the myth of Aryan Race Theory.
Witzel takes his Aryan Invasion to Pakistan
Michael Witzel and a small group of his followers, mainly Europeans and the usual Indian hangers-on like Romila Thapar, are almost the last holdouts for the foreign origin theory of the Vedas and Sanskrit as products of the Aryan invasion. Their academic reputation, what is left of it, rests on the survival of their Aryan theories. Though largely ignored by the Indian media, two major developments have sounded the death knell of the Aryan invasion theory. These are: (1) genetic evidence showing that the Indian population is almost entirely indigenous with negligible input from outsiders going back to the last Ice Age (more than 10,000 years); and (2) British admission that the Aryan invasion theory was concocted to serve imperial interests, because, "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."
Indian studies in the West (especially the US and the UK) are overwhelmingly hostile to their object of study. In the first place, ethnocentric and parochial perceptions will usually dominate when one culture critically evaluates another. And once the resulting interpretative canon becomes firmly established through common consent, prolonged practice and appropriate imprimaturs, it becomes painfully difficult to dislodge, even if it is motivated by an intellectually disingenuous political rationale. In the case of the contemporary Western critique of India, and increasingly Hinduism, its rationale and sheer perversity can be attributed to mundane political reasons and international power politics.
The Myth of the Aryan Invasion of India
One of the main ideas used to interpret and generally devalue the ancient history of India is the theory of the Aryan invasion. According to this account, India was invaded and conquered by nomadic light-skinned Indo-European tribes from Central Asia around 1500-100 BC, who overthrew an earlier and more advanced dark-skinned Dravidian civilization from which they took most of what later became Hindu culture. This socalled pre-Aryan civilization is said to be evidenced by the large urban ruins of what has been called the "Indus valley culture" (as most of its initial sites were on the Indus river). The war between the powers of light and darkness, a prevalent idea in ancient Aryan Vedic scriptures, was thus interpreted to refer to this war between light and dark skinned peoples. The Aryan invasion theory thus turned the "Vedas", the original scriptures of ancient India and the Indo-Aryans, into little more than primitive poems of uncivilized plunderers.
Biases in Hinduism Studies
The purpose of this essay is to highlight the growing dissatisfaction on the part of the Indian American Hindu Diaspora with the way Hinduism, Hindus, and India have been depicted and mis-portrayed in the American education system, and about the urgency to engage the system along the same lines as is already being done by other American minorities, such as the Native-Americans, African-Americans, Hispanics, Jews, Muslims, Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans. This article also explores how Hinduism and India studies directly or indirectly forms American perceptions of India and its culture, its products and services, and of the Indian American minority, and the need to bring objectivity and balance to these studies.
Scholars who believe in the False History of India are a Dying Breed
Now that India has been free for a number of decades from British rule, researchers, historians, and archeologists can all begin to take a new look at the true history of India. We can have a more unbiased view of the numerous new findings that keep cropping up that give an increasingly accurate understanding of how ancient and how advanced was the Indian Vedic civilization. Now more than ever there is a serious lack of support and opposing evidence for the theories that were made popular by the British, such as the Aryan Invasion Theory, or that it was the invading Muslims who gave India the great contributions to Indian art, music, or even architecture with the construction of such buildings as the Taj Mahal, Delhi's Red Fort, Kutab Minar, and other buildings throughout India. With the newer and more accurate historical findings, many of these ideas are falling apart like a house of cards.