Monday, December 31, 2007


Skeletons in lane between Houses XVIII and XXXIII', VS area, Mohenjodaro, Archaeological Survey of India, 1925-26
We all learnt in schools about Aryan invasion. India was invaded and conquered by the nomadic light skinned Indo-European tribes, the Aryans from Central Asia around 1500 BC, who overthrew an earlier and more advanced dark skinned Dravidian Civilisation.

In the 19th century, it was believed to be the Aryan migration, not invasion. Europeans saw Sanskrit identical with many European languages, and based on Biblical model of human migration, Max Muller estimated the date of migration to be around 1500-1200 BC.

With the discovery of Indus Valley Civilisation in 1920s, the theory turned from ‘migration’ to ‘invasion’. The war between light and dark skinned people was highlighted after this discovery, which in coarse of time led to the NORTH AND SOUTH INDIA DIVIDE (based on race). And what were the evidences – a few human skeletons found in the excavated sites of Mohenjodaro and Harappa.

Sir Mortimer Wheeler, one of British India’s very well known archaeologists interpreted these skeletons as a proof of the Aryan invasion scenario. He wrote:

“The Aryan invasion of the Land of the Seven Rivers, the Punjab, and its environs, constantly assumes the form of an onslaught upon the walled cities of the aborigines. For the cities, the term used in the Rigveda is pur, meaning a ‘rampart’, ‘fort’ or ‘stronghold’…Indra, the Aryan god, is puramdar, ‘fort destroyer’…In brief, ‘he rends forts as age consumes a garment’. Where are or were these citadels? It has in the past been supposed that they were mythical, or were merely places of refuge against attack, ramparts of hardened earth with palisades and a ditch’. The recent excavations of Harappa may have thought to have changed the picture. Here we have a highly evolved civilisation of essentially non-Aryan type, now known to have dominated the river-system of north-western India at a time not distant from the likely period of the earlier Aryan invasions of that region. 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 Mohenjodaro men, women and children appear to have been massacred there. On circumstantial evidence, Indra stands accused.”

The skeletons are no longer taken as a proof of the Aryan invasion theory. Rather, they are interpreted in a different manner.