The debate on the origins of the Rigveda and Aryans in India is not new. It is not so much a scholarly dispute as much as it is an unending controversy.
Recently the University of Delhi’s Sanskrit department has claimed ‘astronomical calculations’ show that the Vedas are much older than what most scholars think and the Aryan invasion theory is a fallacy.
During the three day symposium, Sanskrit scholars from various universities questioned the period of composition generally ascribed to the Rig Veda, that is 1,500 BC and placed it after the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization. They also dismissed the view held by many historians and archaeologists, which is also present in various textbooks, by calling it as Marxist and “Max Muellerist” view.
“There are evidences in the Persian tradition which suggest early Vedic chronology. It is high time to reassess the dating of Vedas and other Vedic text which is very essential for our national identity. The concerned authorities should accept the chronology based upon astronomical tool and supported by archaeological evidence in the education system,” said a resolution passed by the scholars during a symposium at Delhi University here.
Challenging the notion that Vedas were composed around 1500 BC, former Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) official B R Mani claimed that the Vedic period existed in four phases, between approximately 7500 BC and 1800 BC.
“On the basis of language, literature, astronomical and archaeological evidence, we can say that the first or early Vedic phase was roughly between 7500 BC and 6000 BC …the later Vedic age or the last phase saw increased urbanisation and intermingling of people as migration from India to the West started,” said Mani. Rejecting the Aryan invasion theory, he said there was ample evidence to suggest migration from East to West.
There was no genetic or archaeological proof to back the Aryan invasion theory. “It is widely believed that Aryans came from Central Asia and massacred the indigenous people. The skeletal remains found at Harappa and Mohenjodaro are often cited as evidence. It has been established that those skeletons belong to different time periods, which proves there was no massacre. Even in terms of genealogy, continuity can be seen over thousands of years, dismissing any invasion theory,” he said.
Further elaborating on this, HOD, DU’s Sanskrit Department, Ramesh C Bharadwaj during his keynote address at the symposium had said: “The original date of Rig Veda has been debated for long. The Marxists have gone all out to establish that Indus Valley civilisation is older than Rig Vedic era. The fact that Aryans came to the plains of India and pushed the Dravidians southwards is also not true, Much before the Indus Valley civilisation, the plains of India had a flourishing culture of its own, which can be established through the Rig Vedic texts. The history needs correction and chronology needs to be fixed.”