Original Home of Aryans: Theories, Homeland, Migration, Myths, and Timeline

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Solving the mystery of the ‘Original Home of Aryans’ is a journey through time and geography that has intrigued scholars, historians, and aspirants of competitive exams such as WBCS, SSC, UPSC, and state-based exams.

Delving into this historical odyssey, we will dissect the various theories, scrutinize the homeland hypotheses, trace their migration paths, debunk myths, and establish a comprehensive timeline. Join us on this quest to discover the origins of Aryans, a topic frequently asked in competitive exams, and shed light on this captivating facet of human history.

Original Home of Aryans, Theories, Homeland, Migration, Myths, and Timeline

Exploring the Transition (Harappan to Vedic)

The Harappan culture, a notable chapter in the history of India, gave way to another remarkable civilization and culture known as the Vedic culture.

The Vedic culture, which succeeded the Harappan culture, is known primarily from the Vedic texts. However, archaeological findings have also provided some insights into this era, albeit not in great detail.

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Meet the Indo-Aryans

The Indo-Aryans are a linguistic group who speak the Indo-Aryan languages, which are a subgroup of the Indo-Iranian languages, which are a subgroup of the Indo-European languages.

The Indo-Aryans are credited with authoring the Vedic texts, which are a collection of ancient religious texts that are considered to be the foundation of Hinduism.

The Noble Arya

The term Arya, used by the composers of the Rig Veda, has a complex meaning that has evolved over time.

It is derived from the root ar, meaning “to cultivate”, and originally referred to people who shared a common culture and language.

In later usage, it came to mean “noble” or “elite”.

The Rig Veda is the oldest known text of Hinduism, and it is believed to have been composed by the Indo-Aryans.

They are believed to be a group of people who migrated to the Indian subcontinent from Central Asia around 1500 BCE.

The Rig Veda contains hymns and prayers to the gods, as well as stories about the origins of the world and the human race.

The term Arya is still used in Hinduism today, but it is no longer associated with any particular ethnic group.

It is more commonly used to refer to someone who follows the Vedic tradition or who is of Indian descent.

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Unraveling the Aryan Homeland

The original homeland of the Aryans remains a subject of ongoing debate, with various theories continuing to fuel discussions. The quest to uncover their origins adds an intriguing layer to the historical narrative.

In summary, the transition from the Harappan culture to the Vedic Age represents a pivotal moment in India’s history, marked by linguistic distinctions and ongoing inquiries into the origins of the Indo-Aryans.

Original Home of Aryans: Theories

European Theory:

  • Proposed by: Sir William Jones, Giles, Shroeder, P. Nehring, Morgan
  • Homeland: Eastern Europe, especially north of the Black Sea
  • Evidence: Comparative linguistics of Greek, Latin, German, Gothic, Celtic, and Sanskrit

Central Asian Theory:

  • Proposed by: Max Muller, E-Meyer, Herzfeld
  • Homeland: Central Asia
  • Evidence: Linguistic relationship between Avesta and Vedas, interchangeability of ‘h’ and ‘s’

Arctic Region Theory:

  • Proposed by: Dr. Bal Gangadhar Tilak
  • Homeland: Northern Arctic region
  • Evidence: Reference to long days and long nights in the Vedas

Tibet Theory:

  • Proposed by: Swami Dayanand Saraswati
  • Homeland: Tibet
  • Evidence: Reference to Tibet in Aryan texts

Indian Theory:

  • Proposed by: Dr. Sampurnanand, A.C. Das, Ganganath Jha, L.D. Kala, R.B. Pandey
  • Homeland: Indigenous to the Indian subcontinent, especially Sapta Sindhu (Punjab region)
  • Evidence: Literary references, geographical data, river hymns, flora, fauna, and linguistic connections
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Theories about the Homeland of Aryans in a Nutshell

TheoryProposed ByHomelandEvidence
European Theory Sir William Jones (1786)

Giles (Hungary)

Shroeder (France)

P. Nehring – Steppes (S. Russia)

Morgan (Western Siberia)
Continent of EuropeOn the basis of Linguistic Evidence for the Indo-Aryan Migration

• Structural similarities between Indo-European languages.

• For example, the Sanskrit words “matri” and “pitri” are similar to the Latin words “mater” and “pater”.

• Similarly, the Hittite word “Inar” is similar to the Vedic word “Indra”.

• The Kassite words “Suryyas” and “Maruttash” are equivalent to the Vedic words “Surya” and “Marut”.

• These similarities suggest that the Indo-Aryan languages originated in a common homeland and then spread to different parts of the world.
Central Asian TheoryMax Muller, E-Meyer HerzfeldCentral AsiaLinguistic similarities between Avesta (Iranian Text) and the Vedas.

• The Avesta and the Vedas are two ancient religious texts, one from Iran and the other from India.

• There is a striking linguistic relationship between the two texts, not only in terms of the words they use, but also in the concepts they express.

• For example, the Avestan word “hepta hindu” means “seven rivers” and the Vedic word “sapta sindhu” also means “seven rivers.”

• This interchangeability between “h” and “s” is consistent throughout the two texts, suggesting that they share a common linguistic ancestor.

• Other examples of this linguistic relationship include the Avestan word “Ahura” (meaning “lord”) and the Vedic word “asura” (also meaning “lord”); the Avestan word “haoma” (a sacred plant) and the Vedic word “soma” (also a sacred plant); and the Avestan word “dahya” (meaning “ten”) and the Vedic word “dasa” (also meaning “ten”).
Artic Region TheoryDr. Bal Gangadhar TilakNorthern Arctic regionOn the basis of Vedic hymns which refer to a land where there are six months of daylight and six months of darkness

• Bal Gangadhar Tilak in his book The Arctic Home in the Vedas mentioned a Vedic hymns which refer to a land where there are six months of daylight and six months of darkness, which is only possible in the Arctic region.

• He also cites other evidence, such as the mention of snow, ice, and polar bears in the Vedas, as support for his theory.
Tibet TheorySwami Dayanand SaraswatiTibetTibet is the original home of Aryans with reference to the Vedas and other Aryan texts.
Indian TheoryDr. Sampurnanand and A.C. Das (Sapta Sindhu Region)

Ganganath Jha (Brahmarishi Desa situated in the confluence of the Ganges and the Yamuna)
Indigenous to the subcontinentLiterary Evidence

• The Rig Veda mentions the Sapta Sindhu, or the “Seven Rivers”, as the original home of the Aryans.

• The Rig Veda also mentions the names of many rivers that are found in the Punjab region, such as the Indus, the Jhelum, and the Chenab.

• The flora and fauna mentioned in the Rig Veda are also similar to those found in the Punjab region.

Linguistic Evidence

• Sanskrit contains the largest number of original Indo-European vocables than any other European language.

• This suggests that Sanskrit has had greater contact with the parent language of the Aryans than any other European language.

Cultural Evidence

• The sacrificial rituals of the Vedic Aryans are similar to those found in other Indo-European cultures.

• This suggests that the Vedic Aryans came from a common homeland with other Indo-European peoples.

Geographical Evidence

• The geographical data found in the Rig Veda fits in with the geography of Punjab and the neighbouring regions.

• This suggests that the Vedic Aryans lived in this region at the time the Rig Veda was composed.

Mostly Accepted View

Most experts believe that instead of a big Aryan invasion, there were many groups of Indo-Aryans who slowly came into the Indian subcontinent as immigrants. Let’s take a closer look at this theory of Indo-Aryan Migrations.

Understanding Ancient Migrations to India

Scholars now believe that ancient migrations to India were not invasions, but rather immigrations. These settlers came from the Andronovo culture of Southern Siberia, which thrived during the 2nd millennium BCE.

They traveled through Central Asia and into the Indian subcontinent, crossing the Hindukush mountains. This migration is evident in the artifacts and ceramics found in these regions.

The earliest Indo-Aryans settled in the heartland of the Sapta Sindhu, a region irrigated by the seven mighty rivers: Indus, Jhelum, Beas, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej, and Saraswati. This region is now part of eastern Afghanistan, Punjab, and western Uttar Pradesh.

The Rig Vedic texts mention the rivers Yamuna and Ganga only a few times, which suggests that the early Indo-Aryans had not yet established a firm presence in these regions.

Indo-Aryan immigration provides a more complex and nuanced understanding of ancient India, one that replaces the simplistic notion of an invasion with a richer tapestry of migration and cultural exchange.

Read Also: Prehistoric Phase in India_Notes on Ancient Indian History

Andronovo Culture: A Starting Point

The Indo-Aryans migrated from Central Asia to the Indian subcontinent around 1900-1500 BCE. They crossed the Hindukush mountains and entered the Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC). This migration is evidenced by the presence of Indo-Aryan artifacts and cultural elements in the BMAC.

Some of the crucial elements of Aryan life that emerged during this period include:

  • Horses: The Indo-Aryans were the first people to introduce horses to the Indian subcontinent.
  • Spoked wheels: The Indo-Aryans also introduced spoked wheels to the Indian subcontinent. This made chariots more maneuverable and efficient.
  • Fire rituals: The Indo-Aryans were a fire-worshipping people. They performed fire rituals to appease the gods and to purify themselves.
  • Cremation: The Indo-Aryans cremated their dead. This was a practice that was not common in the Indian subcontinent before their arrival.

The Indo-Aryan migration had a profound impact on the cultures of the Indian subcontinent. Their language, religion, and customs became the dominant ones in the region.

Land of the Sapta Sindhu

The earliest Aryans settled in the heartland of the Sapta Sindhu, a region irrigated by the seven mighty rivers—Indus (Sindhu), along with its five tributaries:

  • Jhelum (Vatista)
  • Beas (Vipasa)
  • Chenab (Askini)
  • Ravi (Purushni)
  • Sutlej (Sutudri)
  • Saraswati (modern Ghaggar Hakra).

This geographical expanse encompassed eastern Afghanistan, Punjab, and the fringes of western Uttar Pradesh.

River Traces: Ganga and Yamuna

Remarkably, the Rig Vedic texts sporadically mention the rivers Yamuna (twice) and Ganga (only once), signaling that the early Aryans had yet to establish a firm presence in these regions.

In retrospect, the Indo-Aryan immigration, as evidenced by archaeological findings, art, and culture, provides a more intricate narrative of the ancient Indian subcontinent, one that replaces the simplistic notion of an Aryan invasion with a richer tapestry of migration and cultural exchange.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the other name by which Aryans were called?

The Aryans were also called Nordic- Aryans, Indo-Aryans or Indo-Europeans.

Q2. Who lived in India before Aryan?

The people who lived in India before the Aryans were called the Dravidians. They were dark-skinned people who spoke a Dravidian language. The Dravidians were the original inhabitants of India, and their descendants still live in India today.

Q3. Who were the Aryans in India?

The Aryans in India were a group of people who spoke an Indo-European language and migrated to India from Central Asia around 1500 BCE. They brought with them their culture, religion, and language, which had a profound impact on the development of Indian civilization.

Q4. Who propounded the theory that Aryans are indigenous to India?

The theory that the Aryans were indigenous to India was supported by Dr Sampurnanand and A.C. Das. The theory states that the Aryans were residents of the Sapta Sindhu.

Q5. From where did the Aryans come to India?

The Aryans are believed to have originated from Central Asia, specifically from the Andronovo culture. They migrated into the Indian subcontinent around 1500 BCE, crossing the Hindu Kush Mountains and interacting with the Indus Valley Civilization.

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As a professional blogger and passionate educator, I am driven by a deep-seated desire to share knowledge and empower others. With years of experience in the field, I am committed to providing valuable insights and guidance to aspiring learners. My passion lies in helping individuals discover their potential and achieve their goals. I am also a firm believer in the power of motivation and strive to inspire others to pursue their dreams with unwavering determination.

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