Monday, June 7, 2010

Who are Hindus??


Daily Pioneer


Historians, mostly Europeans, formulated and propagated the fiction that light-skinned nomadic tribes from Central Asia, known as Aryans, invaded India in 1500-1000 BC, and their descendents are known as Hindus!

This fallacy now stands exposed

The Indians, who at a later stage of their history, came to be known as Hindus were the indigenous people of the country. Earlier, either out of bias or non-availability of full facts, historians, mostly Europeans, formulated and propagated the view that, between 1500 BC and 1000 BC, there was an invasion of India by hosts of light-skinned nomadic tribes named the Aryans from Central Asia/Europe and the present-day Hindus are the descendents of these tribes. The credit for creation of the Vedic civilisation was, by implication, given to them. They were named as Indo-Aryans.

But the discovery of the Harappan civilisation, consequent to the archaeological excavations carried out at Mohenjodaro and Harappa in the twenties of the last century, exposed several weaknesses of the above view. It was found that, much before the ‘Aryan invasion’ there existed a mature urban civilisation in India. The Indian-ness of this civilisation was noted by no less an authority than John Marshall. Indisputably, this civilisation attained its mature form by about 2600 BC. In its non-mature, or what is called the early Harappan form, it must have come into being much earlier. Its emergence could be fixed in 3100 BC on the assumption that it would take about 500 years for the Harappan civilisation to move from early stage to mature stage.

In the light of above facts, to determine the origin of Hindus, four crucial and inter-connected questions would have to be considered in depth.

These questions are:

(i) Was there an ‘Aryan invasion’ of India in the period 1500 BC to 1000 BC?

(ii) What was the nature of the Harappan civilisation and how did it appear and, after existing for several centuries, how did it suddenly disappear?

(iii) Was there any river by the name of Saraswati, and were cataclysmic changes in the system of this river and system of Indus river responsible for the speedy decline and death of the Harappan civilisation? and

(iv) Is the ancestry of Hindus traceable to the Harappan or even earlier period, and were some of the early Vedic hymns composed in this period?

Each of the above four questions would be dealt with in separate parts that follow:

The Aryan Invasion

Though the propagators of the ‘Aryan Invasion’ theory have been adhering to it for a long time, it has really very weak legs to stand on. Swami Vivekanand has rightly underscored: “There is not one word in our scripture, not one, to prove that the Aryans ever came from anywhere outside India.” In the same strain, Dr B.R. Ambedkar has asserted: “The theory of Aryan invasion is an invention. It is based upon nothing but pleasing assumptions. It is a perversion of scientific investigation, it is not allowed to evolve out of facts. On the contrary, the theory is preconceived and facts are selected to prove it.”

The observations, made by Mount-Stuart Elphinstone, in 1841 in his book,History of India, are no less significant. “Neither in the code of Manu nor the Vedas, nor in any book is there any allusion to a prior residence or to a knowledge of more than the name of any country out of India… to say that it spread from a central point is a gratuitous assumption.”

Nor can the theory of Aryan invasion provide answers to a number of pertinent questions, such as these:

(a) Is it believable that the ‘Aryans’ who otherwise showed strong attachment to lands, mountains, rivers and forests would not carry with them the memories of any landmark of their previous homeland and nurse no nostalgia about their past? Do they not speak of themselves exactly as sons of the soil would speak?

(b) How is it that the invaders brought with them no item of previous use — pottery, utensils, tools, weapons of war and chase, objects of worship, art etc, — and also left no trace of mass killings of the natives or a large-scale destruction of fortifications or habitation which should have resulted from invasions?

(c) Is it conceivable that the people belonging to the Harappan civilisation, who had created an advanced urban society, with a developed writing system, would be without any literature, while the invaders, admittedly unlettered, would leave behind profound literary material in abundance in the form of Vedas and Upanishads etc?

(d) Is it not clear that the Rig-Vedic expressions like sabha, samiti, samrat, rajan, rajaka, which indicate the existence of organised assemblies and rulers of different ranks, are relevant not to the nomadic invaders, but to the advanced urban society of the Vedic Aryans who were indigenous in habitants of Harappan settlements?

(e) Do not the botanical studies of flora and fauna, mentioned in the Rig Veda, show that such a flora and fauna could exist only in the tropical climate of northwest India and not in the cold climate of Central Asia?

(f) Have not the bones of the horse of the domesticated variety been found in the recent excavation at Kalibangan, Ropar, Malvan, etc, and has not the domestic nature of Surkotada horse been confirmed by Sandon Bokonyl, an internationally renowned authority on the paleontology of the horse.

(g) Was not the evolution of chariot more likely in the flat lands of North India rather than in the uneven terrain of Central Asia, particularly when we have now found several examples of terracotta wheels with spokes, painted or in bas relief at sites like Rakhigarhi and Banwali?

In the absence of any credible answers to the above questions, the hollowness of the invasion theory stands thoroughly exposed.

Equally untenable is the theory of migration with which some scholars have tried to replace the invasion theory, having found it difficult to stick to their earlier stand. In fact, the proponents of this theory, driven by bias, have been abandoning old arguments and advancing new ones, whenever fresh evidence cropped up consequent to ongoing excavations and research. Source: Daily Pioneer