The Aryan Invasion Theory – BBC News
One of the most controversial ideas about Hindu
history is the Aryan invasion theory.
This theory, originally devised by F. Max Muller in
1848, traces the history of Hinduism to the invasion
of India’s indigenous people by lighter skinned Aryans
around 1500 BCE.
The theory was reinforced by other research over the
next 120 years, and became the accepted history of
Hinduism, not only in the West but in India.
There is now ample evidence to show that Muller, and
those who followed him, were wrong.
Why is the theory no longer accepted?
The Aryan invasion theory was based on archaeological,
linguistic and ethnological evidence.
Later research has either discredited this evidence,
or provided new evidence that combined with the
earlier evidence makes other explanations more likely.
Modern historians of the area no longer believe that
such invasions had such great influence on Indian
It’s now generally accepted that Indian
history shows a continuity of progress from the
earliest times to today.
The changes brought to India by other cultures are not
denied by modern historians, but they are no longer
thought to be a major ingredient in the development of
Dangers of the theory
The Aryan invasion theory denies the Indian origin of
India’s predominant culture, but gives the credit for
Indian culture to invaders from elsewhere.
It even teaches that some of the most revered books of
Hindu scripture are not actually Indian, and it
devalues India’s culture by portraying it as less
ancient than it actually is.
The theory was not just wrong, it included
unacceptably racist ideas:
it suggested that Indian culture was not a culture in
its own right, but a synthesis of elements from other
it implied that Hinduism was not an authentically
Indian religion but the result of cultural imperialism
it suggested that Indian culture was static, and only
changed under outside influences
it suggested that the dark-skinned Dravidian people of
the South of India had got their faith from
light-skinned Aryan invaders
it implied that indigenous people were incapable of
creatively developing their faith
it suggested that indigenous peoples could only
acquire new religious and cultural ideas from other
races, by invasion or other processes
it accepted that race was a biologically based concept
(rather than, at least in part, a social construct)
that provided a sensible way of ranking people in a
hierarchy, which provided a partial basis for the
it provided a basis for racism in the Imperial context
by suggesting that the peoples of Northern India were
descended from invaders from Europe and so racially
closer to the British Raj
it gave a historical precedent to justify the role and
status of the British Raj, who could argue that they
were transforming India for the better in the same way
that the Aryans had done thousands of years earlier
it downgraded the intellectual status of India and its
people by giving a falsely late date to elements of
Indian science and culture
David Frawley on Aryan Invasion @ http://www.mantra.com/newsplus/aitmyth.html#A15
The aryan invasion @ http://www.gosai.com/chaitanya/saranagati/html/vedic-upanisads/aryan-invasion.html
Motivated INDOLOGY @ http://indiaview.wordpress.com/2007/12/26/communal-clash-13-arrested/
Francois Gautier on Indian History @ http://www.mantra.com/newsplus/aitmyth.html#A16
Invading the Sacred @ http://worldmonitor.wordpress.com/2007/08/13/invading-the-sacred/
Plot to Denigrate India @ http://indiaview.wordpress.com/2007/07/29/dalit-twist-to-textbook-row/