New Research Challenges Aryan Invasion Theory, Reveals Indigenous Origins of Harappan Civilization

Featured & Cover New Research Challenges Aryan Invasion Theory Reveals Indigenous Origins of Harappan Civilization

In a significant challenge to the widely accepted “Aryan Invasion” theory, an Indo-US team of researchers unveiled scientific evidence from the Harappan era suggesting that large-scale migration from central Asia to India did not occur.

This research, published in Cell, one of the world’s leading journals, not only refutes the Aryan migration theory but also posits that the hunter-gatherers of Southeast Asia evolved into farming communities independently and were the creators of the Harappan civilization.

Researchers compared their findings from samples collected from 11 other skeletons worldwide with known scientific data to form a comprehensive understanding of the complex migration patterns observed in Asia a few thousand years ago. “The ancient DNA results completely reject the theory of Steppe pastoral or ancient Iranian farmers as a source of ancestry to the Harappan population. It demolishes the hypothesis about mass human migration during Harappan time from outside South Asia or before,” stated V S Shinde, an archaeologist at Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute in Pune and one of the study’s lead authors. Although the Rakhigarhi samples show traces of genes of Iranian lineage, these genes date back 11,000-12,000 years, which is far before the Harappan civilization. Since 7000 BCE, there is no evidence of South Asian genes mixing with Central Asian genes. “Research showed the Vedic culture was developed by indigenous people of South Asia,” Shinde emphasized. The knowledge of agriculture was indigenous as the prehistoric hunter-gatherers learned farming on their own. “This does not mean that movements of people were unimportant in the introduction of farming economies at a later date,” the researchers noted.

However, several scholars are hesitant to completely dismiss the Aryan invasion theory, acknowledging that the study opens new research avenues. “Rakhigarhi doesn’t really apply to the Aryan period. It’s prior to that,” commented an eminent historian not associated with the study, who preferred to remain anonymous.

A scientist at the Birbal Sahani Institute of Paleobotany, Lucknow, and one of the co-authors of the study, told DH that the research also pointed towards an “Out of India” theory around 2500-3000 BCE. This evidence stems from a related study by the same group of researchers, published simultaneously in the journal Science. The genome of the Rakhigarhi woman matched those of 11 other ancient individuals who lived in present-day Iran and Turkmenistan, at sites known to have exchanged objects with the Indus Valley Civilization. All 12 had a unique mix of ancestry, including a lineage related to Southeast Asian hunter-gatherers and an Iranian-related lineage specific to South Asia.

The Indus Valley Civilization, which at its peak from 2600 to 1900 BCE spanned a vast region of northwestern South Asia, was one of the world’s first large-scale urban societies. Yet, many questions about ancient Indian civilization remain unanswered.

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