One day I had nothing to do. Without a TV and a computer and after a good two hour nap, I was out of options and there was this book, 'The Wonder that was India' by A.L Basham. I finished 50 pages of in one sitting, it was that interesting! Like all books on ancient history of India begin (I haven't read a single of them but have seen table of context for couple of them) with Harappa and Mohindo Jaro civilization and dedicates substantial part to the Aryan invasion theory, this book also has 30 good pages on it. Since I have heard many things about the theory I wanted to go deeper. This might cause a digression in my reading and I might not finish the book (there are very few books that I have completed. One of them is 'Animal Farm'. Its a tiny book and a must read!) but I think its worth it.
So per the book, the invasion happened somewhere around 2000 B.C. The invaders were from Europe (from Poland to be specific). They were nomads but were great warriors. (1#) They had tamed horses (no evidence of taming horses were found at Harappan civilization) and had invented two wheeled chariots. They had superior weapons (like an axe with shaft). Excavation of the Harappan civilization sites showed much inferior tools and absence of iron (It is hard to believe that the civilization who was connected to the world and who use to visit other parts of the world by sea and by road were not aware of chariots, iron and horses!). These invaders conquered the local population and imposed their rules (for example, caste system). (2#) They worshipped sky, sun, wind and other gods. Some of them later went to Europe to become ancestors of Greek, Latins, Celts and Teutons.This is how the similarities between the Iraninan names (Indra, Uruvna, Mitira and Nasaliya) and hindu names is explained. Further the invasion was described as an act occurred over the centuries and (3#) the invasion caused fall of great cities of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro. The invaders brought in the priests who already had perfected a very advanced poetic technique, which they used for the composition of hymns to be sung in praise of their gods at sacrifices.(4#) The discovery of the Indus cities, which have nothing in common with the culture described in the Veda and are evidently pre-Vedic, proved that the hymns cannot have been composed before the end of Harappa. The great development in culture, religion and language which is evident in the later Vedic literature shows that a long period must have elapsed between the time of the composition of the last hymns of the Rg Veda and the days of the Buddha – perhaps as much as 500 years. (5#) It is therefore probable that most of the Rg Veda was composed between 1500 and 1000 B.C, though the composition of some of the most recent hymns and the collation of the whole collection may have taken place a century or two later.
The following passages speak about indigenous people of India:
The Vedic poets knew Himalayas, but not the land south of the Jamnaa, and they did not mention the Vindhyas. To the east the Aryans had not expanded far beyond the Jamnaa, and the Ganges is mentioned only in one late hymn.
Many hymns refer to the battles between one Aryan tribe and another, there is , (6#) underlying this intertribal rivalry, a sense of solidarity against the Daasas or Dasyus, who evidently represent the survivors of the Harappa Culture, and kindred peoples of the Panjab and North West. The Daasas are described as dark and ill-favored, bull-lipped, snub-nosed, worshipper of the phallus, and of hostile speech. They are rich in cattle, and dwell in the fortified places called pur, of which the Aryan war-god Indra has destroyed hundreds. The main work of destroying the settlements of the Daasas had been accomplished some time before the composition of the hymns, and the great battles which must then have taken place are already misted over the legend; but the daasas are still capable of massing armies of 10,000 men against the invaders.
When the Aryans entered India there was already a class division in their tribal structure. Even in the earliest hymns we read of the kshatra, the nobility, and the vish, the ordinary tribesmen, and the records of several other early Indo-European peoples suggest that a tribal aristocracy was a feature of Indo-European society even before the tribes migrated from their original home. (#7)As they settled among the darker aboriginals the Aryans seem to have laid greater stress that before on the purity of blood, and class division hardened, to exclude those Daasas who had found a place on the fringes of Aryan society, and those Aryans who had intermarried with the Daasas and adopted their ways. At the same time the priests, whose sacrificial lore was becoming more and more complicated, and who therefore required greater skills and training were arrogating higher privileges to themselves. By the end of the Rg Vedic period society was divided into four great classes and this fourfold division was given religious sanction and looked on as fundamental.
To discredit the theory that the Indus Valley never knew wheel, K. D. Sethna in his book cited that some seals depicting the wheel have indeed been discovered at the Harappan archeological sites. (1#)The wheel was known to the people of the Indus Valley (http://uwf.edu/lgoel/documents/AMythofAryanInvasionsofIndia.pdf). Also, terra-cota figurines and faunal remains of the horse were excavated from the sites at Lothal, Surkotda and Kalibangan. (http://www.fact-index.com/a/ar/aryan_invasion_theory.html#Evidence%20for%20and%20against%20an%20invasion).
The recent discovery of the dried-up Saraswati river further negates the Aryan invasion theory. Satellite photography from outer space shows the existence of a dried-up river bed in Northern India. (4#, 5#) The archeological evidence indicates that the river dried up several thousand years ago, much before 1,500 B.C., the date ascribed to Aryan invasions. Saraswati is mentioned numerous times in the Vedic scriptures of the Aryans, indicating that these people lived in India during very ancient times. (5#) The mention of Saraswati river in Rig Veda suggests that the vedas were written around 10,000-2000 BCE, which is long before the proposed Aryan invasion.
Francois Gautier cites recent research which indicates that the script on the Indus seals is of Sanskrit lineage. (2#) This proves that the people of Harappa belonged to a much older Vedic age. Hence, the resemblance in names could be because of invasion/ migration of people from Indus valley to outside world and not vice-versa.
Recent DNA evidence not only negates the Aryan invasion theory but proves that people from India migrated outside India and influenced their culture and language. Recent studies reveals the pattern of human population in India and sout east Asia. (http://www.vedanet.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=56&Itemid=2&limit=1&limitstart=2) The development of agriculture and urban civilization in ancient India was based upon the geology of the Sarasvati River, which arose as a mighty river towards the later period of the last Ice Age over 10,000 years ago, and lost its perennial flow, owing to the later climate changes and the melting of the main glaciers in the 2200-1500 BCE era. This Vedic-Sarasvati culture, relative to its geology, lasted from around 10,000-2000 BCE, when the Sarasvati was the dominant river in North India. This perennial great Sarasvati defines the main period of the development of Vedic culture, Vedic kingdoms and the late Vedic era, when the Sarasvati began to decline. This is roughly the period from the older Rigvedic Hymns to the later four Vedas, Brahmanas and early Upanishads, though it is likely that the existent texts which we have were not entirely finalized until the end of this period.
Prior to the end of the last Ice Age, when sea levels were much lower, the most favorable part of the globe for human habitation was Southeast Asia, which included the region from South India to Indonesia. Indonesia was not a series of islands but was connected to Malaysia as part of a large subcontinent called Sunda Land. This region had the warmest and wettest climate of the Ice Age period and was the main center of human habitation and probably human culture as well. Regions to the north were not only colder but drier, including north India, with little monsoon developing in the summer and little melting of glacial ice from the winter to support much by way of great rivers.
This idea of Sunda Land has points in common with the idea of Kumari Kanda, of South India connecting to a larger continent to the south at a remote ancient period. It is also reflected in the maritime symbolism which pervades the Rig Veda and in the idea of pre-flood or pre-Manu kings and dynasties like that of Prithi Vainya, who is credited with first introducing agriculture to humanity, as well as in the idea of earlier kalpas or world-ages and earlier Manus that we find in the Puranas.
The end of the Ice Age released the waters to flow through the Sarasvati River and inundate the plains of North India, turning the area into an ideal region for habitation and agriculture. We can easily see this geological event in Vedic stories of the great Indra, slaying the dragon Vritra, who lay at the foot of the mountains holding back the waters, releasing the seven rivers to flow into the sea.
The end of the Ice Age caused a migration of peoples from Southeast Asia to the north and west, fleeing the rising waters that put much of the Indonesian area under sea and separated Sri Lanka from India. North India would have been one of the first and most accessible places of migration for those seeking to flee the end of the Ice Age floods, either by sea or by land routes. We see this in Hindu myths of Manu as a flood figure coming from Kerala in South India, as in the Matsya Purana, as well as in the underlying maritime symbolism and ocean worship in the Rig Veda itself.
According to the geneticist Stephen Oppenheimer, settlements in India appear about 90,000 years ago. From India there were later northeastern and northwestern migrations into Eurasia and the Far East. India has long been a focal point of this movement from Southeast Asia to the Middle East, Central Asia and Europe.
A recent paper in the journal Science reporting on the analysis of the DNA of the Orang Asli, the original inhabitants of Malaysia, confirms this view. According to it a single migration out of Africa took the southern route to India, Southeast Asia and Australasia. At this time Europe was too cold for human habitation. (#6, #7) About 50,000 years ago, when deserts turned into grasslands, an "Out of India" migration populated the Near East and Europe, another migration went northeast through China and over the now submerged Bering Strait into the Americas. This agrees with the earliest known modern human sites of the Near East (45,000 years ago) and Europe (40,000 years ago). It is likely that the earliest sites on the coastline that were occupied by the first migrants are now under water, since sea level has risen more than sixty meters since the last Ice Age. This is the exact reverse of the various migration-invasion theories (like the Aryan invasion) advanced by linguists and anthropologists who sought to derive Indians and their civilization from Central Asia, Eurasia or even Europe.
The end of the Ice Age afforded the natural events to create widespread migrations from populated to unpopulated regions. The much later proposed migrations, like those speculated for the Aryans into India around 1500 BCE – which still has yet to be proved to have occurred at all – do not have this natural justification. They are proposed migrations from unpopulated to populated and from uncultured to cultured regions that could not count for so much in terms of cultural changes.
Yet even such shifts of people in the late ancient period appear to be related to climate changes and droughts that began around 2200 BCE, which also led to the drying up of the Sarasvati River in India, but this was another movement out of India or a relocation inside of India from the Sarasvati to the Ganga. (3#) This could be the reason behind fall of great cities of Harappa and Mohindo Jaro. During the excavations, researchers found no signs of struggle which were expected if the invasion and war had happened.
Other argument to falsify the invasion theory is based upon the astronomical clues mentioned in the Vedas. (http://www.hindunet.org/hindu_history/ancient/aryan/aryan_frawley.html). The Vedic calender was based upon astronomical sightings of the equinoxes and solstices. Such texts as 'Vedanga Jyotish' speak of a time when the vernal equinox was in the middle of the Nakshtra Aslesha (or about 23 degrees 20 minutes Cancer). This gives a date of 1300 BC. The 'Yajur Veda' and 'Atharva Veda' speak of the vernal equinox in the Krittikas (Pleiades; early Taurus) and the summer solstice (ayana) in Magha (early Leo). This gives a date about 2400 BC. Yet earlier eras are mentioned but these two have numerous references to substantiate them. They prove that the Vedic culture existed at these periods and already had a sophisticated system of astronomy.
I will keep posting if I find something more on this topic.